Continued Communication with SLU Administration

I received a response from SLU Provost Joe Weixlmann yesterday and wanted to share its contents. While he did not give me the “whole hog” response he’s provided to several other alumni, I was taken aback by his response. Rather than respond to my questions, he inferred that because I am appreciative of Dr. Meyer’s work, that I think he can do no wrong, and am, therefore, illogical.
Unfortunately, I suspect no response will satisfy you, because you assume that Dr. Meyer’s being “beloved” by certain students should render impossible his ever doing anything wrong. This is not a logical proposition.
This is not a callous assessment; it’s a simple fact.
Joe Weixlmann, Ph.D., Provost
221 North Grand Blvd.
DuBourg Hall 450, Saint Louis U
St. Louis, MO 63103
My response to Provost Weixlmann is as follows:
Provost Weixlmann,

The response that would satisfy me would be one of both compassion and reason from the Saint Louis University administration.

Certainly you do not suppose that any decision made on my part, your own or any other, for that matter, is based solely on logic. There are many logical lunatics who operate without compassion. My argument is not entirely rooted in logic. My conclusion that Dr. Meyer is beloved is based upon the many outspoken voices of fellow alumni and former faculty. We do not spend our time and energy to reach out to influential members of the SLU community, such as yourself, seeking understanding regarding your actions, as a mere pastime. We do so because we are concerned about the implications of such actions when they contradict the Mission of the university. Beloved people, and institutions, can certainly do wrong.

Given that Saint Louis University is a Jesuit, Catholic university, you will understand that decisions, especially at such an institution, should be made with consideration to ethical and religious ideals. As a student at Canisius and now provost of the university, I am sure you are familiar with both Jesuit ideals and SLU’s Mission statement. I find SLU’s Mission a wise and inspiring document that I hope that the administration is able to live up to, especially in light of the legal battle with Dr. Meyer.

“The Mission of Saint Louis University is the pursuit of truth for the greater glory of God and for the service of humanity. The University seeks excellence in the fulfillment of its corporate purposes of teaching, research and community service.”

It is with the pursuit of truth and commitment to excellence in the university’s purpose of teaching that I write to you now. Has Dr. Meyer not proven himself an excellent educator? I believe that numerous awards bestowed upon him speak volumes for his good work, as have the many testimonials you have received from his former students such as myself.

“In support of this mission the University… enables an academic environment which values and promotes free, active and original intellectual inquiry among its faculty and students.”

Do you believe that you continue to enable an academic environment which promotes free and active intellectual inquiry when student editors are no longer free to publish the University News without fear of retribution for content that speaks negatively of the administration? And when a tenured professor is physically barred from interacting with students as they work on the paper he has fostered for more than three decades?

“…maintains and encourages programs which link the University and its resources to its local, national, and international communities in support of efforts to alleviate ignorance, poverty, injustice, and hunger, to extend compassionate care to the ill and needy, and to maintain and improve the quality of life for all persons.”

According to Father Biondi’s March 2008 State of the University address, the university had already spent more than $18,000 in legal fees associated with the case against Dr. Meyer. In the spirit of extending compassionate care, why has the university continued its battle with Dr. Meyer rather than devoting its resources toward alleviating ignorance and injustice? In fact, with tens of thousands of dollars devoted to lawyers, I wonder if the university’s tendency to draw out the litigation process and drive up legal fees is not an effort to drive another into poverty.

“…nurtures within its community an understanding of and commitment to the promotion of faith and justice in the spirit of the Gospels.”

It is my understanding that the Jesuit ideals that SLU strives to embody are based upon promoting good to its fullest extent, loving and not casting judgment. To quote an employee at Boston College, Jesuit ideals are based upon the “life and mission of Jesus Christ, who welcomed children, ate with sinners, defended the vulnerable, and proclaimed the Reign of God. Any activity claiming to represent Jesuit ideals will reflect these same priorities.” I contend that SLU’s Mission will not be realized in an environment characterized by censorship and apathy.

“…wisely allocates its resources to maintain efficiency and effectiveness in attaining its mission and goals.”

With thousands of dollars invested in legal proceedings, not to mention late nights, furrowed brows and frustration over these matters, I can only hope that the leadership at Saint Louis University can continue to make wise allocations of its resources. I do not purport to know the whole story and I am left to rely upon public records, media coverage and the blogs and e-mails of concerned community members. In my last letter to you, I requested the truth regarding the situation, including the motives of the university in its continued legal proceedings and how I can further express my opposition to such actions.

I understand that you cannot comment on personnel matters, but I would sincerely appreciate your insight regarding how this campaign furthers the university’s mission.

Regards,

Colleen Jaycox

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s