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OT - Biondi monthly message - Office of the President

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I'm shocked that you're defending the faculty. ;)

I simply asked why the faculty felt the need to go to the meeting. Are you telling me the faculty didn't think their presence at the meeting would be a disruption? Why not let Fr. Biondi have some time with the SGA reps? And why did they feel the need to run to the media as soon as there was a conflict? Why didn't they address it at the Faculty Senate meeting on Tuesday? Do they truly think that running a negative story in the Post-Dispatch (again) is going to be the final straw to remove Fr. Biondi?

Echoing the sentiments of Milwaukeebill above, I want this situation resolved and with limited negative press. Neither parties' actions at the SGA meeting were conducive to rehabilitating the image of Saint Louis University.

This hits the nail on the head. I get that they (the faculty) have the right to be a the meeting, but what was the intent of the meeting, especially given all that has occurred? If it was, as it seems and from what I have heard, a chance for some serious dialogue between students and Biondi, why not let that occur unfettered? What is to gain by two (out of how many?) faculty members being there? Were they monitoring things? Were they looking for an opportunity to find something to run to the media with (which they apparently did anyways)? Again, why not let the meeting occur?

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that some students may have been reluctant to say certain things WITH FACULTY PRESENT than without faculty present. Surely that is no surprise to anyone. And, isn't that ultimately the point, to open the lines of communication and have an honest and meaningful exchange of ideas? I know that many think that is not possible with Biondi, but when two faculty members appear in this situation, it pretty much guarantees that the whole meeting is now about the faculty showing up and being removed as opposed to what the meeting was intended for in the first place.

This is going to be resolved, probably sooner than later, and I really doubt all the grandstanding will have had a material impact on the decision process and/or its timing, but what it has irrevocably done is tarnished the image of SLU, at very least, in the St. Louis community.

I always go back to this simple example: I have the RIGHT to walk up to a fat person in public and exclaim mightily, "You are a fat person". But just because I have the RIGHT to do it doesn't make it right. The faculty (and the school), given the nature of what has occurred at SLU, may have well been better served to have just stayed away from THIS particular meeting and let it take its course.

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It is the undergraduate institutions pushing faculty to do research. Even little institutions want the grant money and prestige that comes with a publishing faculty. I agree with your overall point but it isn't the graduate programs at fault. Having gotten tenure at both a large state university and a small catholic undergraduate school, I have seen in both instances that any talk about carrying about the quality of instruction i just lip service.

This is a good and fair point. When I taught at a small liberal arts college as an adjunct for about 9 years, the quality of instruction was pretty much the only thing that mattered. My student evaluations were very closely reviewed; pretty much nothing else. Had I been pursuing a tenured position (really not possible since I do not have a Ph.D) then research would have taken a prominent role. Balance would be good.

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Spot on, well said.

Having led a large educational institution as well as spending many years as the second, I can tell you that these types of organizations do not function relationship wise and decision making wise as do companies both private and public. There are many reasons why this is but suffice it to say that many of the benefits that companies pay out when times are good are not available to people who work in these educational institutions such as a SLU - for example bonuses are not paid out, 401Bs are not often matched at all ever, and opportunities for substantial raises are usually tempered to just name a few. I understand that there are times at companies where 401K matches are reduced, no or reduced raises or salary cuts take place during hard times, and other perks are stopped but by in large when my counterparts in companies were getting 3-5 times my salary and bonuses valued in the hundreds of thousands, they are suppose to save for the rainy day times. Don't get me wrong I am not complaining only pointing out the differences. Now all that being said, transparency in the operations and decision making is a critical factor for those who work in these educational institutions. It is what they find attractive to the job so when the leader pulls the rug out from under them then of course they get angry. The worse thing a leader in this type of organization can do is to appear not willing to work with the staff in an open manner. Biondi has a long record of running roughshod over people so what is happening right now is simply a cumulative effect of years of him grinding his boot heel on those below him. I am still surprised that he has lasted this long through this entire mess - the trustees who basically were picked by Biondi are at least outwardly supporting him - I can assure you that some are tiring of it and are probably privately saying some different things. After all when they signed up for this gig it was suppose to be basically a fun thing with very few if any headaches. The worse thing Biondi could have done was kick the faculty out - he should have welcomed them being there and hearing the discussion - it would only have elevated him but his choice to exclude has only lowered his stature. What could he have possibly said during the meeting that would have been so secret that the faculty need to be removed? - if he thought what he talked about was going to stay in the room then he is very naive and I doubt that he is.

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According to the u news this meeting's purpose was for biondi to answer student senators questions. If that was the point of the meeting, why do faculty find it necessary to be there?

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Clearly, the concept of a PUBLIC meeting is lost on multiple people on this board.

If Father Biondi wanted to have a private dialog with student leaders, he could have invited said leaders to his office, or to a mutually agreeable private location, and had said dialog. Or the SGA could have called a closed meeting. (BTW, reports of the meeting's activities initially appeared on the Students for No Confidence FB page, so clearly SOME people who weren't SGA members were allowed to attend. And by the previously posted SGA bylaws, ANYONE was allowed to attend -- even message board morons.)

Instead, Father Biondi caused the SGA to violate its own bylaws (hmmm...written procedures and bylaws blatantly violated...where have we seen this before...a similar train of thought, perhaps?)

Oh, and AlumniFan -- your analogy would be fine if the faculty members had actually called Father Biondi fat, so to speak. And they probably should have been ejected had they been in any way disruptive. BUT THEY WERE JUST STANDING THERE.

If the folks defending Biondi on this one have no problem with prior restraint in a public meeting, I suggest that the faculty's biggest sin was not doing a very good job teaching you while you attended a Jesuit institution.

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Clearly, the concept of a PUBLIC meeting is lost on multiple people on this board.

Oh, and AlumniFan -- your analogy would be fine if the faculty members had actually called Father Biondi fat, so to speak. And they probably should have been ejected had they been in any way disruptive. BUT THEY WERE JUST STANDING THERE.

Joe, the point isn't what they said at the meeting, it's the fact that they showed up at all. Yes, absolutely, it was a public meeting and they had a right to be there just like I have a right to call fat people fat. BUT, just because both of these things are "rights" doesn't mean that they SHOULD be exercised in each particular case.

I'm not defending Biondi at all. All I am saying is that exercising discretion in one's actions can be critical to advancing progress in a particular situation and I believe this situation would have been much more productively addressed had the two faculty members just decided, "Hey, it's one meeting between students and Biondi and, yes, we have the right to be there, but maybe the better thing is to let this conversation go without any potentially derailing actions as a function of our presence." Would that not have been a more conciliatory and mature action to take?

A lot of people are starting to get the sense that a certain, probably small, group of faculty members are just doing everything they can to create issues even when, in some cases, no issues exist. These faculty members are not stupid; they absolutely had to know that their attendance at this meeting held the potential for conflict - WHY GO THERE, figuratively and literally? From a lot of people I have talked to, some of the anti-Biondi momentum is starting to swing to anti-faculty which is a shame. These certain faculty members are beginning to undermine their own agenda and I know at least some of the other faculty/staff members (and a lot of alumni) are also getting tired of it.

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According to the u news this meeting's purpose was for biondi to answer student senators questions. If that was the point of the meeting, why do faculty find it necessary to be there?

I guess you are looking for an answer other than to hear what the president of the university has to say on issues in which faculty and sga had voted no confidence? It's not as if Biondi and board of trustees are open and willing to talk about these issues on a regular basis...

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If the folks defending Biondi on this one have no problem with prior restraint in a public meeting, I suggest that the faculty's biggest sin was not doing a very good job teaching you while you attended a Jesuit institution.

AH! PEOPLE WITH DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES!

C'mon. I dont think im really defending Biondi. I admitted he was in the wrong for throwing them out of the meeting. All I am saying is the faculty has not received enough blame for this situation. Imagine this situation with Biondi showing up at a scheduled meeting between SGA and faculty. Certainly there would be cries from the faculty IMO. But I am glad you finally did admit the faculty can make mistakes (sarcasm). But seriously, if you want to invoke Jesuit values neither side is resembling "ADMG" or "men for others".

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I guess you are looking for an answer other than to hear what the president of the university has to say on issues in which faculty and sga had voted no confidence? It's not as if Biondi and board of trustees are open and willing to talk about these issues on a regular basis...

I agree, Biondi and the BOT has not been open enough.

I also agree he was in the wrong for throwing faculty out of the meeting.

I guess I just don't comprehend why, from my perspective, faculty are running to the media in an attempt to disgrace Biondi at every single opportunity. All it really does is lower the perception of the university which hurts students (the ones they should be trying to help the most), in my opinion.

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I agree, Biondi and the BOT has not been open enough.

I also agree he was in the wrong for throwing faculty out of the meeting.

I guess I just don't comprehend why, from my perspective, faculty are running to the media in an attempt to disgrace Biondi at every single opportunity. All it really does is lower the perception of the university which hurts students (the ones they should be trying to help the most), in my opinion.

I would guess it is the only option they feel they have to get pressure for change. If enough alumni, donors, people of power are tired enough of bad publicity, something will change.

From most accounts, Biondi won't change or even validate/acknowledge the feelings/concerns of the faculty. It's his way or the highway. Apparently, even to the point where you can't attend a open meeting. He won't show to faculty senate. So he won't talk, won't change. What options are left to work for change within the system as it exists?

The risk they run is they over play their hand.

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I would guess it is the only option they feel they have to get pressure for change. If enough alumni, donors, people of power are tired enough of bad publicity, something will change.

From most accounts, Biondi won't change or even validate/acknowledge the feelings/concerns of the faculty. It's his way or the highway. Apparently, even to the point where you can't attend a open meeting. He won't show to faculty senate. So he won't talk, won't change. What options are left to work for change within the system as it exists?

The risk they run is they over play their hand.

I definitely see how they could view this as their only option. At the end of the day i just wish we werent arguing about who deserves more blame, i wish we were arguing about whose plan to solve this is better.....

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I was told today that Biondi and Brouster were scheduled to do the same thing at the next Faculty Senate meeting. So it's not as if that those faculty members wouldn't have a chance to see him soon enough, anyways. But Brouster stepped down so that's not happening

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I was told today that Biondi and Brouster were scheduled to do the same thing at the next Faculty Senate meeting. So it's not as if that those faculty members wouldn't have a chance to see him soon enough, anyways. But Brouster stepped down so that's not happening

I was told today that Biondi and Brouster were scheduled to do the same thing at the next Faculty Senate meeting. So it's not as if that those faculty members wouldn't have a chance to see him soon enough, anyways. But Brouster stepped down so that's not happening

If that's true, it makes the actions of these two lone faculty members that much more disappointing.

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I don't see the big deal with faculty showing up at a public meeting. The problem with Biondi isn't that he is dictator, but rather he has become an ineffective leader when it comes to the day to day operations of the school's academic mission. An effective dictator would have squashed these issues already. The latest actions of Biondi and Brouster make them look like they are scared to face the issues raised in a public manner where they might be challenged.

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there's a lot of interesting talk in this thread; but it comes along with some serious misinformation.

1st: how do you know it was the faculty that contacted the PD? Student leaders are also quite upset about what happened, and students have email accounts and can contact Tim Baker or anyone else from their smart phones, believe me. To suggest that it was some sort of publicity stunt is really off the mark. It's pretty obvious how much students are involved in all this crisis: just go to the facebook page. By the way; the charge from FrB that faculty have somehow forced student involvement, or threatened them with bad grades, or something like that, is truly offensive and irresponsible, but then again desperate times call for desperate measures, so such pettiness is really getting to be about par for the course.

2nd: the debacle surrounding the sudden cancellation of FrB's appearance Tuesday in front of the Senate, scheduled 4 months ago, is further evidence of serious dysfunction. In case it has not yet been reported on here: that news came to the president of the Senate late at night on Friday (like, 9 or 10 pm I think); and it was reported as due to the fact that the chair has resigned. This does not seem to be sufficient reason for cancelling the meeting at the very last minute, especially when it seems indicative of a further blow against faculty wishes and a counterpunch for the whole SGA thing. what a joke. Faculty are reading this as further dismissive treatment, and actually that is the big story right now. The meeting Tuesday has been long anticipated...

3rd: it has been reported on here, and elsewhere, through mainly upper administration channels, that it is mainly (as one person commented on here) a very small group of tenured radicals, or something to that effect. This is also false; and I can assure you that the findings of the climate poll bear this out. Every social movement has leaders, some quite visible. But if you think that means only 2 or 3 faculty care about all this you are seriously misreading the situation. I'm going on memory here, but I believe the climate poll returned a number well over 70% supporting the university find new leadership. Favorable numbers on the present leadership were very small indeed. In particular, the obvious feeling of resentment and vilification of the faculty from higher administration is pervasive among my colleagues.

4th, and finally: Everyone deserves blame, and I think we can all agree to that. But I happen to know from very reliable sources that some on the Board (not sure how many) are getting really really tired of dealing with what appears to be something bad run amuk, and getting worse. The events of the past week suggest to almost all faculty I know (and I believe, increasingly, many board members) that this case is terminal.

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1st: how do you know it was the faculty that contacted the PD?

Hint: It wasn't. And this whole concept of "running to the media" shows a serious lack of knowledge of how social media has driven this story specifically and "old media" in general.

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Hint: It wasn't. And this whole concept of "running to the media" shows a serious lack of knowledge of how social media has driven this story specifically and "old media" in general.

Whether you run to your typewriter to send a letter to the editor of your local paper or run to your iPhone to post something to Facebook, you are still effectively running to the media. Whether students or teachers, someone is going to "the media" one way or another, that much is blatantly obvious.

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Hint: It wasn't. And this whole concept of "running to the media" shows a serious lack of knowledge of how social media has driven this story specifically and "old media" in general.

Correct me then. Hard to change my view of the situation without giving me more information to base decisions off of.

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Correct me then. Hard to change my view of the situation without giving me more information to base decisions off of.

Well not that I necessarily support Joe totally, he is right here. "Running to the media" implies an email, phone call, or press release to the news outlet. While those things may have been used for big stories, most of these little stories result from people posting to Facebook or Twitter. It seems that "the media" have been running to the students and faculty (and the administration when they feel like it) more than anything else. Most of the social media stuff seems to be initiated by rabble-rousing students, not the faculty. I don't think students think of themselves as "running to the media" when they post something to Facebook or Twitter. They just want to tell their friends.

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Well not that I necessarily support Joe totally, he is right here. "Running to the media" implies an email, phone call, or press release to the news outlet. While those things may have been used for big stories, most of these little stories result from people posting to Facebook or Twitter. It seems that "the media" have been running to the students and faculty (and the administration when they feel like it) more than anything else. Most of the social media stuff seems to be initiated by rabble-rousing students, not the faculty. I don't think students think of themselves as "running to the media" when they post something to Facebook or Twitter. They just want to tell their friends.

Wow! I didn't think students in this day were that naive. However, it seems like at least monthly I hear about some kid not getting a job because of something stupid he/she posted via social media. Guess I shouldn't be surprised.

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Correct me then. Hard to change my view of the situation without giving me more information to base decisions off of.

If you're not following the various Facebook pages that are chronicling this situation, I can't help you. But that also means that you're laboring under the misconception that modern news coverage is based on some individual or group calling a reporter.

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Wow! I didn't think students in this day were that naive. However, it seems like at least monthly I hear about some kid not getting a job because of something stupid he/she posted via social media. Guess I shouldn't be surprised.

Do you see yourself as "running to the media" everytime you post on the Billiken board? Same diff. Reporters monitor this board and have frequently built stories from posts out here. (And in the ultimate irony, there's been at least one case of someone posting about the Biondi situation quoting the Billken board for backup!)

Likewise, all the reporters who have been covering the ongoing issues as SLU monitor SLU Students for No Confidence, which is where this particular story first broke. (Interesting aside: That group actually withheld its story for several hours after a one-line item noting that two faculty members were asked to leave the SGA meeting, because it was waiting for an eyewitness report that could make its Facebook post as accurate as possible.)

That said, it's statistically naive to think that everything that gets posted on Facebook gets seen by mainstream or other media, let alone gets converted into a news story. In this case, it happened because it was news. The president of a University, already embroiled in a major dispute with a tangible segment of his constituents, asked for two faculty members to be ejected from a public meeting. Was he somehow misinformed that it was a public meeting? Maybe. But it doesn't reflect really well on him or on the people who work for him if he was -- and that's simply another piece in an overall mosaic that currently includes the law school deanship, the Crews hiring and any number of other smaller incidents.

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Do you see yourself as "running to the media" everytime you post on the Billiken board? Same diff. Reporters monitor this board and have frequently built stories from posts out here. (And in the ultimate irony, there's been at least one case of someone posting about the Biondi situation quoting the Billken board for backup!)

Likewise, all the reporters who have been covering the ongoing issues as SLU monitor SLU Students for No Confidence, which is where this particular story first broke. (Interesting aside: That group actually withheld its story for several hours after a one-line item noting that two faculty members were asked to leave the SGA meeting, because it was waiting for an eyewitness report that could make its Facebook post as accurate as possible.)

That said, it's statistically naive to think that everything that gets posted on Facebook gets seen by mainstream or other media, let alone gets converted into a news story. In this case, it happened because it was news.

+1

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Can someone explain to me what the people in this thread who are asking why the faculty were there in the first place's point is? I mean, I can't know for certain, but I think that circumstantially it's pretty obvious. They're involved in a big dispute with the president, and they wanted to hear what he had to say, straight from the man himself. This was a regularly scheduled meeting open to the public, so they probably figured it would be a good opportunity to get his side of things directly from him by listening.

What I don't understand is that people are basically asking "Why did they do that?" in some attempt to discredit them or to distribute some of the "blame" in this entire fiasco to them. How?

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Can someone explain to me what the people in this thread who are asking why the faculty were there in the first place's point is? I mean, I can't know for certain, but I think that circumstantially it's pretty obvious. They're involved in a big dispute with the president, and they wanted to hear what he had to say, straight from the man himself. This was a regularly scheduled meeting open to the public, so they probably figured it would be a good opportunity to get his side of things directly from him by listening.

What I don't understand is that people are basically asking "Why did they do that?" in some attempt to discredit them or to distribute some of the "blame" in this entire fiasco to them. How?

Glad you asked that. Have been wondering same myself. If this was regularly-scheduled meeting, open to everyone - including curious faculty - why were they asked to leave? Why the attempt at discrediting them for attending?

Though I sit pretty firmly in Biondi's camp in the overall/larger discussion of the war that's being waged against him, I understand he has made many mistakes, too. He is often his worst enemy.

Given the PR catastrophe in the STL market this war has caused, the real and acknowledged need for healing and change -- and the agreement to do so -- asking the faculty to leave an open meeting and the cancellation of the President's address to the Faculty Senate are real head scratchers.

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