Outgoing SLU president takes parting shot at adversary

The Rev. Lawrence Biondi, outgoing president of St. Louis University, used his last monthly newsletter to take one last swing at a professor he’s battled for more than two decades.

The two-page rant against Avis Meyer was the near the end of his long missive to faculty, staff, students and others, but it was longer than any of the other subjects he extolled about during his tenure as head of the Jesuit university.

Meyer has outlasted Biondi’s attempts to dislodge him as unofficial adviser to the student newspaper, the U. News.

Meyer has been ordered never to set foot in the newspaper’s office. But the student journalists respect Meyer and meet separately with him to get his editing advice for each issue. Meyer says Biondi blames him for any articles he sees as critical of him or the university.

In the newsletter, Biondi rehashed his criticism of Meyer, who SLU sued in federal court for copyright infringement several years ago. Meyer had sought  to incorporate the newspaper’s  name when it appeared it might be driven off the campus.

When this didn’t happen, Meyer relinquished the name. Nevertheless, Biondi instigated the lawsuit six weeks later and hired a large law firm to go after Meyer. After 18 months, the suit was settled out of court with Biondi claiming victory over Meyer, who has had to spend more than $100,000 defending himself. It’s estimated that SLU spent more than three times that amount on the suit, which the U. News called “frivolous.”

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