Home » Politics/Policy »Sunday Poll » Currently Reading:

Poll: Should Archibald &/or Biondi Resign Their Positions?

November 4, 2012 Politics/Policy, Sunday Poll 14 Comments

Saint Louis University President Lawrence Biondi and Missouri History Museum President Robert Archibald are both under fire for unrelated reasons.



The museum’s purchase of the Delmar land, which was owned by former Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr., has drawn fire for weeks. The Zoo-Museum District board report also lambasts the compensation of the History Museum’s president, Robert Archibald, saying his newest contract should be withdrawn and his perks and vacation days re-evaluated. (stltoday.com)

Archibald, head of the museum since 1988, had signed a new three-year contract in July. The board of trustees at that time also agreed to pay him for 410 unused vacation days, due as a lump sum when he retired. Archibald used to receive eight weeks of vacation. He now is entitled to four weeks, but also gets six weeks for “historical researching and writing.” (stltoday.com)



The St. Louis University Faculty Senate on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly against the leadership of the school’s president, the Rev. Lawrence Biondi.

The Senate room erupted in applause and cheers when the 51-4 no-confidence vote was announced, following nearly two hours of debate. (stltoday.com)

The Student Government Association at St. Louis University joined the push to oust the university’s president late Wednesday.

The student group by a 38-0 vote passed a “no confidence” measure against the leadership of the school’s president, the Rev. Lawrence Biondi, and the school’s vice president of academic affairs, Manoj Patankar. There was one abstention.

The vote came at the end of a six-hour meeting, student leaders who attended the meeting said. (stltoday.com)

Both men have their supporters and detractors. Will they persevere despite criticism? The poll question this week asks if they should resign, the poll is in the right sidebar.

— Steve Patterson




Currently there are "14 comments" on this Article:

  1. JZ71 says:

    The ones that really need to resign are the board members at the History Museum. They’re the ones that provided minimal oversight (unusable, inflated property acquisitions, really?) and approved, repeatedly, Archibald’s “generous” compensation packages, and did little to protect the taxpayers, the ones that provide much of the Museum’s operating budget.

    With Biondi and SLU, it’s a much more complex issue. Universities are notorious for having competing factions, so it’s hard for an outsider (like me) to know what to believe. Plus, I have a much less clear picture about who’s actually in charge, Biondi, “the Jesuits”, “the board” (whoever they may be) or the faculty senate? The real litmus test is how many students are enrolled – if that population is dropping off, there’s obviously some serious issues to be addressed.

    In both cases, you have powerful men who have succeeded in gaining significant personal control. Some people define that as strong leadership, others define it as an abuse of power. In reality, no one is irreplaceable in an institutional setting – the institutions will survive or fail based on how well they accomplish their missions and adapt over time, not who’s “in charge”. And, in an institutional setting, there will never be complete agreement about every decision – with any leader, “the buck stops here”. Neither Biondi or Archibald have done what they’ve done alone. Much like finding a new chief for the city’s Police Dept., replacing either (or both) men will have little short-term or long-term impact on either institution.

    • GMichaud says:

      While I agree that the Board of the History Museum should go first, Rev Biondi on the other hand has a better chance to rehabilitate his legacy. I do however disagree that replacing either or both will have little short or long-term impact. These men have had impacts, the question is whether it has been positive.

      I would expect replacements to have impacts also.

  2. Guest says:

    Biondi is an SJ (“Society of Jesus” – aka Jesuit) man, and as such, enjoys elevated status in STl. As being in line (like all priests) to the papacy, he enjoys a position of (papal) infallibility. This will come as unwelcomed news to non-Catholics and urbanists alike, and explains why so may Catholics tend to remain silent on neighborhood affairs once a priest has weighed in. Re. SLU, Biondi has, obviously, “weighed in”.

    Re. Archibald, he’s just another uber-fortunate, white, 1 percenter guy, cashing in on a sweetheart deal unknown to you and me, but congratulated by the country club, central corridor (Clayton – Town and Country) set. $400-something thousand to run a non-profit? $10,000 per week? That’s more than most MDs, engineers, and lawyers. Put up a Rogue’s Gallery, and add Archibald, Dick Fleming, the director of the Art Museum, the Science Center to the list, and ask yourself, “how many more highly qualified, under 40 candidates, would take that gig for less than half the pay?

    • Mac14 says:

      Check your Catholic doctrine. The Pope is the only officer of the Church who enjoys infallibility. Even then, he is only infallible when speaking to interpretation of Church doctrine. If he says “ham is superior to eggs” he is no more infallible than you or I according to the Church. Good try though.

      • guest says:

        Maybe so, but we know that Canon Law trumps US Code when it comes to ways of the Holy See.

        • moe says:

          Really? That must be why Biondi took the Archbishop to the mat and WON when he sold Tenet hospital and reinvested that 90 Million back into the school. Those that think Biondi, for all his faults, ‘reports’ to the Archbishop does not know what he is talking about.

  3. MiamiStreet63139 says:

    Every few years some faction at SLU pushes the “no confidence” thing. Seen it before and predict Biondi will still be in charge when the dust settles.

    • Voxovreeson says:

      Interesting, then, that this is the first time in 25 years that the faculty have voted ‘no confidence’ in Biondi…

  4. Louie says:

    Allowing Biondi to resign would only give him the ability to state that he is doing what is best for the university. Firing would be more appropriate.

  5. be careful what you wish for. says:

    this poll is ridiculous. biondi needs to stay. the arts and sciences faculty are saying that they are doing this for the good of the school when the underlying cause for the mess is their own financial concern. people i know who do not like their job or their boss go find another job. i’m not on facebook but was able to see the students’ page for no confidence. it was how i was directed here. it appears that the conversation is being guided by anonymous page moderators or editors, arts and sciences faculty members, and a core group of students and alums. i find the faculty comments acknowledging and thanking their students’ participation as bordering on manipulation. i have to question why the faculty find it necessary to participate in this supposedly student organized and operated forum. i also find the accusations of biondi destroying the historic fabric of midtown to be misplaced. as far as i can recall the only building that may fall into this category is the old home that used to stand next to cupples house. if anything, what biondi has done for midtown has lead to the preservation of buildings that would have either fallen from decay or the wrecking ball. slu stabilized the area, which attracted investors and banks willing to loan them money to support their projects. the pevely building is a brick wharehouse. it’s an historic but steadily decaying part of the landscape but i’d much prefer that the city have an ambulatory care center.

    • Get Out says:

      The plans for the ambulatory care center were scrapped soon after demolition. As it stands, what was once a historic preservation center is now doomed to be a parking lot, or worse, an ugly plot of land left for sale.

      If you want to rejuvenate a city, hire a city planner. Not the president of a dying university that refuses to see that his time has long past.

  6. be careful what you wish for says:

    also, as a member of the lgbt community and someone who is periodically on the slu campus i want to know if there has been any expression of outrage that chik-fil-a is doing such a brisk trade with the students and faculty. when i learned that chik-fil-a was at slu i expected that there would be some protest by both students and faculty. biondi, as much as his position in the church allows (i know as a jesuit educated former catholic), openly questioned the church’s attitude on the lgbt community and somewhat more specifically marriage equality in a recent st. louis business journal article.


Comment on this Article: