Category Archives: Blog Chatter

Provost Weixlmann on Administrative Leave

If you’ve been following the Avis Meyer story (and this blog) for the last couple years, you’ve heard a great deal from the Saint Louis University provost, Joseph Weixlmann – including his email responses to several alumni.

If you’ve been following the St. Louis Post-Dispatch or the press releases coming out of SLU this week, you already know that Provost Weixlmann has stepped down from his position to take a two month administrative leave.

Much like the Post-Dispatch journalists, we’re wondering what lead to his resignation and what’s coming next for both Weixlmann and the university.

For more info, read:

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Riverfront Times posts about Movie Trivia Night

Chad Garrison of the St. Louis RFT posted about the upcoming Avis Meyer Movie Trivia night. Visit the RFT site to read the article in its entirety. Please note that the date of the event is Sunday, May 3 (it is misprinted in the article).

Fundraiser Planned for Embattled SLU Journalism Mentor, Avis Meyer

meyeravis.jpg
slu.edu
Avis Meyer

A legal battle with his employer, Saint Louis University, has left Avis Meyer with legal bills “approaching the six-figure” mark.

As you may recall, the university sued Meyer back in 2007 after the longtime journalism adviser established a non-profit entity with the exact same name as the student paper, The University News.

At the time, SLU officials were proposing a charter change for the paper and Meyer claimed he was concerned that the administration planned to wrest control of the publication from the students. The non-profit would allow the students to continue the paper off-campus should they not agree to the new charter.

In the end, the students voted in favor of the charter and Meyer dissolved the non-profit. It could have ended there.
Instead the university filed suit against Meyer to ensure that he would never use the paper’s name in the future. The lawsuit was settled last month. A federal judge dismissed six of the seven charges against Meyer. (Meyer is also banned from the newsroom, though he continues to teach communications courses at the university and the newspaper’s staff considers him its faculty mentor.)

The seventh charge in the lawsuit, alleging that Meyer destroyed e-mail evidence, was settled. It requires that he teach one summer course for free at the school. If Meyer cannot — for whatever reason — teach the course, his wife must pay the university $6,000.

“I was amazed that they asked my wife, a fourth grade school teacher at a Catholic school, to sign a document saying if something happens to me she owes Saint Louis U. six grand,” Meyer told the student paper last month.

When I spoke to him yesterday, Meyer did not want to talk about the lawsuit so much as he did the fundraiser planned for him on May 2. Friends and former students are putting on the event — a movie trivia night at the Richmond Heights Community Center.

“It’s incredibly humbling that all these people are wanting to help,” says Meyer, who crafted all 100 questions for the competition. “From what I’m told the event is already half full. I know my wife is planning to bake lemon bars for sale for three days prior to to the event.”

Post-Dispatch columnist and film critic, Joe Holleman, is emceeing the trivia. For more information and tickets, visit the Friends of Avis Meyer Legal Defense Fund.

Avis Meyer Movie Trivia Night on May 3rd

The 18-month-long lawsuit that Saint Louis University waged against Avis Meyer is now over. And even though the attorney charged Avis a highly-discounted rate, he’s still incurred quite a legal bill.

The friends of Avis Meyer have organized a fundraiser on May 3. Please show your support by spreading the word, coming to the event and contributing to the cause.

When:
Sunday, May 3
Doors open at 6 p.m.

Why:
To help our friend pay legal expenses

Where:
Richmond Heights Community Center
8001 Dale Ave.
Richmond Heights, MO 63117
Map and Directions

What:
Movie Trivia Night
Avis has created 100 questions, 10 each for 10 movie genres, to challenge even the most avid moviegoers. Joe Holleman, columnist and movie critic of the Post-Dispatch will host the event, which will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Awards:
Avis is donating books about movies. The first-place table’s winners will choose their books first; then the second-place table; then the third. In addition, three lucky players will receive a $50 gift certificate to Pietro’s, Spiro’s or Dressel’s.

Cost:
The minimum cost per ticket is $25**. Anything beyond that would be welcomed, but not expected — especially if you’re in education or journalism. The room seats 288 well-wishers.

BYOE:
Please bring your own snacks and soft drinks. Alcohol is not permitted at this event. Baked goods, some created by Anna Marie, herself, will be available for purchase.

RSVP:
Please RSVP by May 1 by adding your name and number attending to the responses on this site. The “Responses” link can be found at the top of the page under the “Movie Trivia Night” header.

Note:
If you cannot attend the Movie Trivia Night but would like to donate to Avis’ defense fund, you may send checks** made  payable to Anna Marie Meyer, to:
10828 Woodforest Drive
St. Louis, MO 63128

Note (another):
If you cannot attend the trivia bowl, some alumni are planning a second event — a picnic in an area park, tentatively scheduled for May 24, a Sunday afternoon. This website will carry details, as they become available; and Avis and Anna Marie should appear at both events.

**This is not a tax-deductible donation.

RSVP by leaving a comment on http://friendsofavismeyer.wordpress.com/

Post-Dispatch: Trial of SLU v. Avis Meyer Begins

Click here to read the story on STLToday.com.

Trial of SLU v. Avis Meyer Begins
Kavita Kumar – St. Louis Post-Dispatch

I checked in this morning on the first day of the trial of SLU vs. Avis Meyer. As you may remember, SLU filed a federal lawsuit against Meyer, a tenured professor, in October 2007 for copyright infringement. (Click here for some background on the case.)

Judge Carol Jackson threw out most of SLU’s case in December. But one of the seven counts still remains unresolved. The remaining issue is over the fact that Meyer used SLU letterhead and a SLU fax number to send a letter to the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office to dissolve a non-profit corporation he had created with SLU’s name in it. Frank Janoski, a lawyer representing SLU, argued today that SLU had not authorized Meyer to use its address and letterhead for this purpose. (The main issue in the case had been that Meyer filed papers to create a non-profit with the same name of the SLU student newspaper. He later dissolved the corporation. SLU decided to sue later, but the court ruled in favor of Meyer because SLU did not show how Meyer had used SLU’s name “in commerce.”)

Judge Jackson seemed quite miffed that both parties were still fighting this last point. After both sides presented their opening statements, she said that she doesn’t understand why there was still a problem. She said she understood both sides distrust one another.

“But there’s really not a whole lot here,” she said. “I’m sorry, I just don’t know why we’re here.”

Janoski told the court that SLU wants Meyer to correct the record with the secretary of state’s office, wants assurances that Meyer will not use SLU’s name in the future, and wants compensation for attorney’s fees.

Meyer’s attorney, Brian Gill, said that Meyer is prepared to file the requested paperwork with the secretary of state’s office and that he does not plan to use SLU’s name to produce a newspaper in the future.

Janoski said SLU wouldn’t be in court if it had received assurances from Meyer upfront that he wouldn’t again try to use SLU’s name. He added that SLU must protect its name and is not treating Meyer differently than it would any other person or entity.

But Gill suggested otherwise in his opening statement when he said that the way that SLU has pursued this case “would impress even one of Victor Hugo’s inspectors.”

At the judge’s prodding, both sides decided to try to find a compromise. The proceeding was recessed this morning and both sides still appear to be hashing out some sort of settlement. So stay tuned to see what happens. If they can’t reach a compromise, then the trial will resume on the final count. Janoski told the court that testimony from his witnesses would likely take 4 to 5 hours.

Before the opening statements, Jackson also gave Meyer a strong rebuke for destroying some emails. She said she didn’t believe Meyer was trying to thwart SLU’s case, but she said that it was nonetheless “thoughtless and reckless.”

“I’m very troubled by the manner in which the emails were handled by Dr. Meyer,” she said. “This is the kind of behavior that should have never occurred.”

As punishment, she said she would charge Meyer for SLU’s attorney’s fees tied to the related motion.

A handful of SLU professors as well as Meyer’s family was in attendance to show support for him.

Update on today’s settlement

I received more information today about the SLU v. Meyer case this evening. The judge has two days to accept the terms of the settlement. Among the settlement terms there is a chance of a misdemeanor along with reimbursement of a small portion of SLU’s legal fees. These concessions would be made in return for continued tenure and a clean slate.

Given the matters of the last two years, what a relief to see the case coming to a close. Thank you again to all of the alumni, journalists and community members for your support.

Please check back soon for more information on the judge’s final decision.

SLU v. Avis Meyer Case Settled

As of 4:15pm, both sides have settled in the SLU v. Avis Meyer case.

The details of the settlement have not yet been released.  SLU will be reimbursed for a portion of attorney’s fees, but the final amount has not been disclosed.  According to an audience member in court, the judge will “sign off” on the settled issues tomorrow morning.

This means that the legal battle is over and Dr. Avis Meyer was not found guilty of any of the seven charges set forth by Saint Louis University. (Update at 10pm on 3/2/09: https://saveavis.wordpress.com/2009/03/03/update-on-todays-settlement/)

Shout Out to College Media Matters Blog

Special thanks to Dan Reimold at College Media Matters for providing an update on the Avis case and the latest Post-Dispatch article.

Please check out his article Judgment in St. Louis U. Lawsuit Against Student Paper Adviser.

Like us, Dan was particularly happy to see a smile on Avis’ face.

Thanks for your continued support and interest in this ongoing matter.