Category Archives: Opinion

Letter to the Editor: SLU’s Vendetta against professor is shameful

Julian Long’s Letter to the Editor was published on STLToday on March 5. We agree with many of  Long’s points, including that all the dirty details of the case have not been outted by the Post-Dispatch. We’re sure details will come to light as time goes on, but for now, Long’s claim that SLU required Mrs. Meyer sign an agreement that she would owe the University $6,000 if Dr. Meyer passed away before the end of June 2009 is true. Our advice to Avis? Wear a bullet proof vest and look both ways before crossing Grand.

Read Long’s letter on STLToday.com

03.05.2009 5:10 pm

SLU’s vendetta against professor is shameful

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

I was present in the courtroom last Monday at the close of Saint Louis University’s lawsuit against Professor Avis Meyer. Having watched your reporter speak with SLU administrators I am not surprised that your story entitled “SLU and professor settle lawsuit” seems to consist almost entirely of university spin, though apparently Post-Dispatch representatives contacted Professor Meyer before the story ran.

Your story’s lead states that Professor Meyer has agreed “to pay the university $6000 plus certain legal fees” and “refrain from illegally using the university’s name.” Then the next five paragraphs give what appears to be the university’s version of the history of the lawsuit and imply that the university won its case. That simply isn’t true. The university “won” only one point, a claim that Professor Meyer had deleted certain email messages.

SLU lost this lawsuit on the merits, and not with any grace or dignity. In a final sorry gesture, SLU administrators demanded that Mrs. Meyer—yes, Mrs. Meyer—sign an affidavit agreeing to pay the university in case of Professor Meyer’s untimely death. The real story of the SLU vendetta against Avis Meyer is equally sorry. It shames Saint Louis University, and it shames the Society of Jesus. It’s too bad the Post-Dispatch won’t report it.

Julian Long

St. Louis

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Charles in Charge

Charles Klotzer, founder of the St. Louis Journalism Review, wrote in to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to tell readers a little more on the backstory between Avis Meyer and Larry Biondi this week:

Sin of omission: The back story on SLU professor controversy (click to see the story posted on STLToday.com)

The story “Most of SLU’s trademark suit against professor is rejected” (Dec. 27), about the controversy between St. Louis University and tenured professor Avis Meyer, typifies what ails American journalism more than the sins of commission: the sins of omission.

The article is accurate, factual and well-written, but it is only one paragraph in a story that has been festering for decades, which the Post-Dispatch apparently has decided not to cover in depth. That decision misleads readers into believing that what they have read is a complete report.

Remarkably, the report fails to mention even once the key actor in this story that is part comedy and part tragedy: SLU President Lawrence Biondi. He has been upset for decades with the school newspaper for exposing missteps by him many years ago. For decades, Mr. Meyer was the respected and beloved adviser of the school’s newspaper (while the school has barred him from continuing in that role, students still consult him privately). Mr. Biondi simply blames Mr. Meyer for failing to protect him. School newspaper advisers are not protectors of the school administration. Mr. Meyer is foremost an ethical journalist, not a handmaiden to the university. Mr. Biondi never has forgiven Mr. Meyer and has schemed to oust him ever since.

This is the core of the story that always should be included in any story of the Biondi-Meyer controversy. Not doing so reveals either ignorance or a willingness to protect Mr. Biondi.

Charles L. Klotzer | University City

Founder, St. Louis Journalism Review

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.

The great Billiken debate

Several Saint Louis University alumni have been debating the SLU versus Avis issue on the Billikens.com message board. Visit the forum, read their opinions and tell them what you think!