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The vote of “no confidence” for SLU Prez Larry Biondi by students and faculty has aroused a maelstrom of pros and cons. SLU Law School prof Michael Wolff: “When I came to Saint Louis University in 1975, the place was a slum.  When Father Biondi came here in 1987, it was a little bit better slum.  And if he had never come here at all, it would still be a slum, perhaps an even better slum, but not a university that could have attracted the students and faculty that SLU has been attracting in recent years. Many in the academic world want to ask what has he done for us lately, but the longer view affords an appreciation of the transformative nature of Biondi’s tenure as president.  I believe the Board of Trustees will take the longer view and support him.”

5 Responses to “REV. LARRY BIONDI, CONT’D”

  • buttinsky says:

    SLU has improved greatly under Biondi and my friends who are Board members all support him. There is much work to do there and it doesn’t have anything to do with putting tenured faculty in charge. I had a friend from Detroit who asked if I could pick him up with his daughter a few years ago. She was considering SLU and wanted to look around. I picked them up at the airport and before they even got out of the car, she said, “Dad, there’s no way I’d want to go here, I don’t even feel safe in the car.” The first duty of any institution is to survive. SLU must continue to develop its way out of the slum. Our reputation is bad, whether deserved, is not the point. I took my daughter to visit a school in New Orleans, not noted as the safest town in the world. A parent on the tour asked the guide, “Is this campus safe?” The guide babbles something about “urban schools,” and says he has never felt unsafe and then says, “but, I mean, its nothing like St. Louis or Detroit.” SLU better hope they have someone like Biondi and not some Politically correct milquetoast who is afraid to recognize it.

  • Voxovreeson says:

    Sure, SLU has improved greatly under Biondi, but there’s a limit to how far real estate development can take a university. Biondi’s a tenacious businessman and developer, but he’s been a mediocre university steward and if the recent ‘top-secret’ strategic plan is any indication, that’s not going to improve. Biondi’s hand-picked hatchet man, Patankar, appears intent on turning SLU into the only Vatterott College campus with an arena. Many people–not just faculty–see them running headlong in exactly the wrong direction for SLU. Curious that Patankar is the ultimate numbers guy, but when you look closely at the numbers, they’ve had virtually no success at making things better with their iron-fisted policies. I wonder how many Board members would support Biondi if the veneer was pulled back. It’s pretty dirty under there.

  • jbaby says:

    Thanks to Michael Wolff for telling it like it is! Hopefully SLU students will get back to the books and professors will get it together so they don’t have to worry if they’re evaluated periodically.

  • Joel Kalemis says:

    IMO, SLU / SLU Hospital developments are only second to the Arch & BJC. The improvements are an enormous step forward to make the University and the City of StL. better. As a Landscape Contractor we did most of the work on the gated portico style entries, and the ponds & waterfalls West of Spring Ave. Father Biondi has had a vision for the facilities that should be admired, enjoyed, and emulated. It is a wonderful urban campus. Our mayor and those who succeed him should call on Biondi for advice and suggestions as to how better treat the various neighborhoods in the city with vacant boarded up structures and un-kept vacant lots. I am sure he would give them the opinion of a true visionary. He’s not done yet, let him continue and the City will be the beneficiary.

  • wwsivo says:

    Voxovreeson has it right. Bricks, mortar and cheap land make for real estate developments but not for a successful university. When a university continues to decline in comparison to other schools (going from 60’s to 90’s in ranking according to US News over the last 25 years) more buildings and higher tuition are not the answer. Additionally, just like the City of St. Louis, when people are given an unsafe enviroment with assaults, rapes, shootings and robberies (as evidenced by the rape and robbery in the SLU parking garage 2 months ago), to live in; they will usually choose for some place else!

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