Tag Archives: letters

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


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.

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

Letter from Missy Bange (SLU ’06)

I can not believe the degree to which this has gone. Dr. Meyer is one of two professors I had at SLU who showed a direct and deeply passionate interest in his students’ education & personal well being. 5 weeks into my sophomore year, I lost a parent very suddenly– not only did Dr. Meyer take extra time to work with me to complete the course, he attended my mom’s wake to show his support. Dr. Meyer is a good man.

“A” students work their tails off to achieve the much sought after “B” in his class– and are proud of it. He challenges students and is dedicated to the paper and university. Dr. Meyer is a talented educator.

I’m ashamed that my alma mater is taking such action over an incident that was so obviously a result of Dr. Meyer’s dedication to the students’ best interest. This is wrong.

I only wish SLU had more professors like Dr. Meyer. I wish SLU had more professors who are as dedicated and selfless as he is. And I wish that we had more SLU faculty, staff and admnistrators who are willing to stand up and fight for what is right. Dr. Meyer pushed me and many others to become the writers we always wanted to be. I truly am a better person for having known him.

My question to the administration is simple– what is truly in the best interest of the SLU students?

Letter from Andrew C. Emmerich

“A longtime adviser to Saint Louis University’s student newspaper, The University News, may no longer enter the paper’s newsroom, university Provost Joe Weixlmann ordered Tuesday.
In a June 3 e-mail to Professor Avis Meyer, Weixlmann wrote he would ‘block your access to the newsroom’ if Meyer continued to assist the News within its facilities.”   http://www.splc.org/newsflash.asp?id=1766
© 2008 Student Press Law Center
Tell me, when will this stop?  Why is a professor, tenured and respected in the community, who wishes to help a rather unsupported–and I include Jason Young (administration’s lap-dog) in that statement–student run newspaper such a threat?

Disagreeing with Jason Young “in front of student reporters and editors” is not only wonderful, but was actively encouraged by myself when I served as Op/Ed Editor of the News during the Fall of 2007.  Disagreements and differences in opinions are what fuel the Op/Ed section of the paper, and whether you, or Father Biondi wish to believe it, the final decision was always made by the Editorial Board–never Young or Meyer.

As long as Saint Louis University maintains its reign of terror upon free press, there will be no financial support coming from me, or many of the families I keep in contact with, for building a better SLU.  These brutish tactics must stop, for if they do not, you–and the rest of administration–will leave nothing but a legacy of pretty flowers and buildings and discontented graduates who have no desire to donate money to the University, now or in the future.

I truly do hope that SLU realizes the error of its ways and quickly drops any litigation against Dr. Meyer, ceases any investigation of his 30+ years of teaching, and leaves The University News to its own business (the business of reporting the unbiased news).  Perhaps, when these tasks are completed, I and many others, will be more willing to walk back into the fold of Saint Louis University…with our checkbooks open.

Until then, my best wishes,

Andrew C. Emmerich
The University News
Op/Ed Editor, 2007
Saint Louis University
College of Education and Public Service, 2008