University transparency builds trust

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University transparency builds trust

Erika Clotz / Chief Illustrator

Erika Clotz / Chief Illustrator

Erika Clotz / Chief Illustrator

Erika Clotz / Chief Illustrator

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Many of the decisions made by Father Lawrence Biondi over his 25-year tenure as president of Saint Louis University have drawn equal parts support and criticism from the SLU and Saint Louis communities.

Regardless of whether you love him or hate him, you cannot deny the immense positive impact he has had on the university and the city. Likewise, whether you love him or hate him, you cannot deny that his methods in achieving these successes have, in some cases, been unorthodox and, in others, downright shady.

With the harsh words of former School of Law dean Annette Clark still ringing throughout campus, you might think now is the time to once again implore Father Biondi to increase or establish transparency in his administration, especially when it comes to questions concerning the movement and use of funds.

However, Father Biondi is a step ahead though maybe a little late. In the president’s August message, sent Aug. 28, Father Biondi responded to the accusations of Clark’s resignation letter sequentially and satisfactorily, explaining the actions he took and dispelling the former dean’s allegations. Main among these allegations was the accusation of the movement of funds away from their intended source, something SLU has been criticized for in the past.

This is exactly the kind of communication the SLU community has been hoping for over the course of Father Biondi’s tenure. We might not have the right to demand complete financial reports on every move the university makes, but providing the student body with at least some information on how the various projects around SLU are being funded goes a long way in securing honest and lasting support and is definitely a move in the right direction.

There is a huge group of students on campus who want nothing more than to be proud of the decisions SLU’s president and administration are making, and it is more than a little unfortunate that many of the past successful moves at SLU were marred by bad press concerning the processes taken to get there.

But now, with such a simple statement, Father Biondi may see a marked change for the better in his standing among community members.

Of course, the administration has a long way to go before we start throwing parades to celebrate their open disclosure of information, but this just might be the first step in creating a new image, one that students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members can be proud of and sure to support.