SLU Leaders Report Progress In Father Biondi Controversy

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)–SLU faculty senate members hailed a “new bridge” of communication between the University Board of Trustees Executive committee and faculty leaders during a scheduled faculty senate meeting Tuesday.

Faculty Senate President Mark Knuepfer said five trustees met with the senate’s executive board last Thursday to ask questions about the senate’s no-confidence vote in SLU President Father Lawrence Biondi.  Knuepfer believes that was the first time there had ever been such a meeting.  He described the exchange as frank and open.

At issue is a debate over how faculty members should be evaluated, both those with tenure and those without.  The faculty is also urging more involvement of faculty members in the governing of the institution.

Among the topics discussed with the trustees were how evaluations work and why faculty feel a lack of trust for the administration.

The full board of trustees is due to meet in mid-December on campus.  Faculty members hope to be able to present their concerns to trustees at that time.

Knuepfer said the next step is in the hands of the trustees.

No cameras or recording devices were allowed in the Faculty Senate meeting although reporters were permitted to attend and take notes.  Some faculty members say they fear recrimination on the part of the university administration.  

The Senate had invited members of the SLU Board of Trustees.  Knuepfer said he understood one or two were attending the meeting, but they were not identified.

The SLU administration issued a statement saying,:” The University believes that last week`s discussion between the leadership of the Faculty Senate and the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees set the stage for addressing concerns in a manner that reflects the mission of the University and is in the best interest of students, faculty and the entire SLU community.”

Emergency Meeting Could Determine Fate of SLU’s Father Biondi
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