Monday, November 25, 2013

An Open Letter on Spousal Benefits

There are many reasons to be proud of being a Billiken.  Not the least of them has been its open and progressive tradition.  In the coming year, SLU will be able to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Father Heithaus’ call to integrate the university.  This was another of the important firsts to which our university lays claim.  This tradition is one of the things that attracted me to SLU as prospective faculty member and was the answer I gave to many when they questioned me on why I was going to work for a Catholic University.  In my 11th year of teaching here at SLU, I have unfortunately experienced firsthand that SLU is abandoning this tradition. 

In October I celebrated my fourth wedding anniversary.  I was married under a chuppah by a Rabbi (yes I am Jewish) in Massachusetts, I can show you both the wedding certificate and ketubbah.  When I returned to SLU I asked to have my husband added to my health insurance but was denied.  I was told that we weren’t married.  We have lived with that insult for four years, but things have changed.  This summer the Supreme Court struck down key features of DOMA which allowed our marriage to be recognized by the federal government.  In September, the Department of Labor sent out guidance that employers should base determinations of spouse on state of celebration instead of state of domicile.  In plain language, that means it doesn’t matter that Missouri continues to deny recognition as long as my marriage is legal in Massachusetts (which it is).  With these changes I again asked HR to extend coverage to my husband.  Again I was told that I wasn’t really married.  When I continued to press I was told that they had looked further into the matter and that SLU was not mandated to do so.
Was Father Heithaus mandated to initiate integration of SLU?  Have we turned our backs on social justice and caring for the whole person?  I fear we have.  My husband now tells me that he does not feel welcome on campus.  I can’t tell him otherwise and only wonder what I will tell the daughter we are expecting. 
I would also add that this position is inconsistent with more recently espoused goals to be the finest Catholic and a top-50 university.  For those of you who are thinking, but SLU is Catholic and the Church does not officially recognize same-sex marriage, I would point to the Jesuit institutions that do provide these benefits.  Of the 7 Jesuit universities recognized by US News and World Report as national universities, SLU is the only one that does not provide these benefits.  Overall, the majority of Jesuit universities do extend benefits to same sex spouses and/or domestic partners.  While it is true that many of these schools are in marriage equality states, several of these schools extended these benefits before being mandated.  Within the Midwest this includes both Marquette and Loyola Chicago. 
Looking beyond the Jesuits, here in the Saint Louis area, Washington University, Webster University, University of Missouri Saint Louis (UMSL), and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville all provide these benefits.  UMSL faculty and staff started receiving benefits this year when the Curators approved benefits for all 4 schools in the UM system, which also includes Columbia, Kansas City, and Rolla (now Science & Technology).  Other public universities in Missouri that provide these benefits include Truman, Missouri State, and my husband’s alma mater Central Missouri.

By saying that it is not mandated, SLU is turning its back on its history, mission, and strategy.  The time has come for SLU to be true to itself and do the right thing.  I want to be able to give my family the support and security they deserve.  I want to feel welcome on campus and to be a proud Billiken again.  

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Next SLU President

Last spring, the Heithaus Haven hosted a Town Hall meeting on "The Next SLU President."  In addition to conversation about desired qualities and characteristics of our next president, Ken Parker arranged for the meeting to include a dialogue with two distinguished and renowned Jesuits - Fr. Joseph Tetlow and Fr. John Padberg.  Thanks to the efforts of Tomas O'Sullivan, we have a detailed record of the conversation to share:

Minutes of the
Townhall Meeting on the Next SLU President

3:00pm-5:00pm: Friday, May 10, 2013

Carlo Auditorium, Tegeler Hall, Saint Louis University

Attendance: c. 40-45
including students, staff, faculty, alumni, & Jesuits

Facilitator:          Bonnie Wilson (Department of Economics, John Cook School of Business)
Recorder:           Tomás O’Sullivan (Department of Theological Studies, College of Arts and Sciences)


The meeting opened with a welcome to all participants from the facilitator on behalf of the contributing editors of the Heithaus Haven. She suggested we are gathered to share, to learn from one another, and to begin to discern the qualities and characteristics of our next president. Out of respect for the fact that we are gathered in a Catholic, Jesuit institution, she invited all, whether Jesuit or not, whether Catholic or not, to join in silence for an opening prayer.

The prayer offered thanksgiving for the Jesuits, who share their mission with us; for the administrators and benefactors of the university; for Fr. Biondi as he discerns his new role; for Mr. Adorjan and the trustees as they embark on the task of finding a new president; for our students, currently in the midst of their exams; and for the least among us; and asked for the blessing of being gracious to others and of knowing ourselves.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

First Friday Mass and Speaker Series

Fr. Chris Collins, S.J., Director of the SLU Catholic Studies Program and professor in the Theological Studies Department, has organized a "First Friday Mass and Speaker Series" for our SLU community.  The series begins this Friday, September 6, 2013, at 8:00 am, in Our Lady's Chapel in lower College Church. 

On the first Friday of each month, join alumni and friends of Saint Louis University for mass at 8:00 a.m., followed by pastries, coffee, and a brief presentation and discussion led by SLU faculty. Presentations will be from a variety of academic disciplines reflecting on research and writing pertaining to the Catholic Intellectual Tradition.  The schedule for the fall semester is:

Friday, September 6, 2013  Our Lady’s Chapel in lower College Church, Catholic Studies: Finding God in All Academic Disciplines, Fr. Michael Barber, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences
Friday, October 4, 2013       Mass and breakfast in Jesuit Hall, The Archaeology of Catholic St. Louis, Dr. Tom Finan, History Department
Friday, November 1, 2013   All Saints’ Day, Mass and breakfast in Jesuit Hall, Tribute to Fr. John Kavanaugh and the Dignity of the Human Person, Dr. Eleonore Stump, Philosophy

Friday, December 6, 2013   Our Lady’s Chapel in lower College Church, God Became Man so that Man Might Become God, Fr. David Meconi, SJ, Theological Studies

Monday, August 26, 2013

Practical Proposals for Transforming Jesuit Higher Education at Saint Louis University

 by Claude Pavur, S.J.

Under the charge of the highest legislative body in the Society, Jesuits are told to assist, even as individuals, in guiding the university to its proper objectives.*  Toward this end, I have drawn up some proposals that I hope will help promote the thinking, planning, and restructuring that seems necessary at this time. The proximate stimulus for this set of reflections was Fr. John Padberg’s talk of March 25, 2013, “The Meaning and Purpose of the University,” a large-scale overview that left me wondering about practical details and the next specific steps.

1. An explicitly revised, stated understanding about the nature and details of the Society’s role in the administration of the University. The Board of Trustees could explicitly renegotiate the working (but not the legal) understandings of the idea of “separate incorporation” announced at Saint Louis University in January of 1967. It is very likely that some kind of meaningful, directive supervision by the Society was envisioned by Jesuit universities and colleges in the original intention to have Jesuit presidents. Even where this no longer holds, the spirit of the original charter could be seriously compromised if there is virtually no vital line of supervision to deal with mission-critical details in a timely way. For the sake of authentic partnership with the Society and for the sake of the identity and effectiveness of the institution, the Board could rethink and formally recognize ways in which the Jesuit order, even apart from any given President and Jesuit board members, must be given a definite moral weight and even structured practical involvement in mission-critical matters. The Board could work out in partnership with the Society to the satisfaction of both parties ways to achieve the “periodic evaluation and accountability to the Society” that are called for by Decree 17 of GC 34.* The envisioned arrangement will give the university an added level of oversight that will help prevent any deformation or mismanagement of the mission.

2. Restructuring the understanding of the presidency.  The Board could explicitly distribute authority in the university and craft an understanding of the presidency in such a way that the scope of the office would lie midway between the two extremes of quasi-dictatorial power on the one hand and purely ceremonial functionality on the other. The Board might set a base term-limit that could be extended for compelling reasons under a strong consensus of Board and University sectors. Such an arrangement would help to keep the president accountable to the wider university community without removing the authority necessary for leadership with respect to mission.

3. A standing structure to speak for the Society. The Board could formally write into its charter its expectations of the proper oversight by the Society and propose means by which the university can better hear the voice of the Society, even where there is not total consensus on issues at hand (e.g., What should the Core Curriculum include in light of the Jesuit character of the institution?). The Society should be capable of making competent, well-informed, well-grounded, well-deliberated judgments about Jesuit higher education in any of the directions, details, procedures, and contents that bear on the substance, quality, and reputation of Jesuit education. Some standing Jesuit structure could be created to study and debate the issues and then make its opinions known.

4. A faculty governing board with its own administrative powers. The faculty, particularly that which is engaged in teaching at the undergraduate level, could be corporately authorized (perhaps through its own administrative board, one that has its own discretionary budgetary powers and that is superior to all other academic governing bodies in the institution) to discern the educational needs of the students and to discover and enact the ways in which those needs can best be fulfilled in the context of the Jesuit tradition, its history, and its authentic development. Such a board could also work out explicit ways to consult with the Society about relevant issues, under that “periodic evaluation and accountability” mentioned by Decree 17 of GC 34.  This proposal would lead to a greater shared moral unity and purpose of the faculty and allow them to better fulfill the fiduciary responsibilities they have for educating the next generations.

5. Proper formation for leadership in Jesuit education. The university has the right to expect proper guidance from the Society.  It has the right to require of its leaders the background and training necessary for mission-critical matters, just as it has the right to require the proper training of its faculty. This is a very large question for the formational sector of the Society. The university could make its own leadership needs and expectations explicitly known to the Society so that the Society might adjust its formational programs in a properly collaborative spirit.

These five proposals or something along similar lines seem absolutely essential for a truly desirable and well-rounded transformation of Jesuit higher education at Saint Louis University (and probably elsewhere as well). These proposals aim not only at structured solutions for a more adequate sharing of power and oversight at the university but also at the responsible fulfillment of its mission as a Jesuit institution.

 * The text reads as follows:  “The complexity of a Jesuit university can call for new structures of government and control on the part of the Society in order to preserve its identity and at the same time allow it to relate effectively to the academic world and the society of which it is part, including the Church and the Society of Jesus. More specifically, in order for an institution to call itself Jesuit, periodic evaluation and accountability to the Society are necessary in order to judge whether or not its dynamics are being developed in line with the Jesuit mission. The Jesuits who work in these universities, both as a community and as individuals, must actively commit themselves to the institution, assisting in its orientation, so that it can achieve the objectives desired for it by the Society.”  (From Decree 17 of General Congregation 34, “Jesuits and University Life,” Number 9.) 

First composed, March 27, 2013; revised August 14 to 20, 2013.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Townhall Meeting on the Next SLU President

The contributing editors of the Heithaus Haven invite all to a Townhall meeting on the next SLU president.

Please join us:  Friday, 10 May 2013, 3:00-5:00 pm, Carlo Auditorium, Tegler Hall, Saint Louis University

The meeting will have as its frame of reference the mission statement of Saint Louis University. All are welcome.

Some things are known.  In particular, the leadership literature includes a very standard list of traits that are desirable in a leader. We surely want a president who has these standard traits: trustworthiness: the ability to exhibit that one is reliable and dependable; self-control: the ability to exhibit a calm demeanor; empathy, likability, adeptness in relationships: the ability to exhibit concern for others; creativity: the ability to overcome challenges and adapt to novel circumstances; focused clarity: the ability to multitask and return to task after interruption;persuasiveness: the ability to motivatate; effectiveness: the ability to execute and get things accomplished; honesty, etc.

Other things are unknown and must be discerned by our community.  Should the next president be a Jesuit?  Should we have a compressed search for a candidate that can lead us through the bicentennial in 2018?  Should we have a long search for a candidate who can lead the institution for a long period, perhaps 20+ years?

Please join us to help us consider these questions, and to offer questions of your own.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Not-So-Secret Strategic Conversation

Last week, members of the SLU community gathered at an open strategic planning session, to begin a conversation about the future.  Below is a report on the session, compiled by Silvana Siddali.  The Heithaus Haven is pleased to share this report and to provide a space for further dialogue and discernment.


On Wednesday, April 17, members of every SLU community—undergraduate and graduate students, staff, faculty, members of the Jesuit community, and administrators—met  to talk with each other about our hopes and dreams for SLU’s next century. We believe that we all have a stake in creating our future. 

The meeting began with a free-wheeling open call for important topics: what did people most want to discuss? What ideas would be particularly important as we contemplate the next century in SLU’s history? 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Call for Forgiveness

In two articles published last week, one trustee and one Jesuit raised the question of forgiveness.  The basic argument for each was that the faculty ought to respond to Fr. Biondi’s February message with forgiveness since he was demonstrating that he had listened.  So the faculty was not just guilty of being malcontent and whiny, but now hard-hearted and unchristian in its collective attitude.  There was a way to resolve the campus crisis, both articles implied, if only the faculty would respond in the correct way instead of personal animus against the President.

One might say that the President’s supporters were playing the “forgiveness card” and the faculty should simply treat the two articles as propaganda.  That may happen.  By invoking forgiveness the two authors have shifted the argument from professional relationships to personal ones.  If that is what they want, then they only increased the onus on SLU’s leadership, not lightened it. And if they want to conflate the personal and professional, let me state clearly and loudly: I am more than happy to forgive Fr. Biondi.  I’m a theologian and a medievalist, whose research takes him constantly into the deep quagmire that is the theology of penance and reconciliation.  Forgiveness is a theological concept I know very well.  I know that forgiveness is what I as a Christian must do and it is never an option.  But, I also know that forgiveness compels the one forgiving and the one seeking forgiveness to do some very difficult things.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Remembering our Mission, Imagining our Future - Part III

The Jesuits of Saint Louis University have organized a Jesuit Mission Series for the SLU community.  The third and final installment of the series takes place this evening – Monday, April 15, 4:00-5:30, in DuBourg Hall’s Pere Marquette Gallery.  

Fr. Mike Sheeran, S.J., president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, will talk about "Transforming the World through our University," and there will be time for reflection and discussion with each other -- faculty, students, staff, administrators, trustees, alumni.  Refreshments will be served.  

Please join us and help us as a community to articulate who we are, and who we want to be, as we move forward in SLU's history!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Bad Language
What the Mutiny on the Bounty can tell us about the troubles in an American University

Events over the past year at Saint Louis University have puzzled many members of the University, the local community, and (so it would appear) even some of the Trustees tasked with overseeing the direction of SLU.

What has gone wrong? SLU is an outwardly successful institution. It is headed by a president whom many hold to be a charismatic and transformative figure. It employs responsible and skilled administrators and staff. It is capable of attracting highly qualified faculty drawn from around the nation and from overseas. It is dedicated to working with talented and motivated graduate and undergraduate students. The University’s research and teaching are recognized nationally and internationally. It is situated on a campus which has been comprehensively redeveloped. Its finances are reputed to be healthy.

And yet this same institution has fallen into an abysm of self-recrimination.

Senior and mid-ranking administrators have resigned (or been fired): most recently two Deans of the Law School, the Vice-President for Academic Affairs, and a Departmental Chair. Positions have been left unfilled or turned over to "interim"  appointments, to the extent that the term "interim" has become almost part of the SLU administrative brand.  Senior faculty have resigned from University committees. Votes of no-confidence in the President from three representative bodies of the University (the Student Government Association, the Faculty Council of the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Faculty Senate) have been passed by overwhelming majorities. Membership of the Facebook page, "SLU Students for No Confidence" currently numbers some 1200 individuals. So debased have our relations with one another become that an outside agency has been called in to survey the "climate" of the University.

Fear, mistrust, despondency, and anger abound. Like Don Corleone in The Godfather, one might ask: "How did things ever get so far?"

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Duty to Delight

On Sunday, February 26, 2013, Krista Tippett interviewed Father Greg Boyle, SJ.  If you missed the show, I highly recommend the podcast.

Father Boyle’s book, Tattoos on the Heart, is SLU’s first-year summer reading book for fall 2013.  I commend this selection.  We at SLU have much to learn about service and kinship and mutuality from Father Boyle.  Father Boyle’s perspectives are also relevant for us here at the Heithaus Haven, where we focus on how our internal norms, practices, and structures embody our mission.

Father Boyle suggests that we have a duty to delight in one another.  A duty to delight. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Remembering our Mission, Imagining our Future - Part II

The Jesuits of Saint Louis University have organized a Jesuit Mission Series for the SLU community.  The three-part series began on February 28, with a presentation by Fr. Joseph Tetlow, SJ, on our “Catholic and Jesuit Heritage.”  The text of Fr. Tetlow’s presentation is available here. A video of the presentation is available here.  An introduction to the series by Fr. Patrick Quinn, SJ, is available here.

The second  installment of the series takes place this evening – Monday, March 25, 4:00-5:30, in Room 117 of the School of Nursing.  Fr. John Padberg, SJ, will address “The Meaning and Purpose of the University.”  Fr. Padberg has been the Director of the Institute of Jesuit Sources since 1986.  He is renowned for his passionate commitment to scholarship, spirituality, and institutions of learning and culture – and as a storyteller extraordinaire.

Fr. General Kolenbach once said to Fr. Padberg, “Your love of God…has manifested itself in deeds, and not just in words – although quite often your ‘deeds’ have issued in the publication of many ‘words.’  Our Jesuit brotherhood has been richly blessed because of your great passion for our history and our life.”  We at SLU have likewise been richly blessed by the presence and contributions of Fr. Padberg.

All are invited – students, staff, faculty, administrators, trustees, alumni.  Please join us in reflection and discussion (and refreshments) devoted to helping us as a community to articulate who we are and who we want to be as we move forward in SLU’s history!

Here at the Heithaus Haven, we would like to provide a space in the comments section for continued conversation following the presentation – conversation that we hope will inspire us to action.  Please join us in the comments section, following Fr. Padberg’s presentation. Or, if you are so inspired, send us a reflection for publication as a blog post.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Imagining our Future, Remembering our Mission

Joseph Tetlow, S.J.

An address given in the series sponsored by the Jesuit Communities at St Louis University, February 28, 2013, to faculty, staff, and students.

The American churches want our universities to remain religious. The Baptists at Baylor, the Disciples at Pepperdine – and the motto of  Wheaton in Illinois is still “For Christ and His Kingdom.”  Think of Notre Dame; think of SLU.

Is it reasonable for us to expect to remain religious? After all, Yale was Congregational; Emory used to be Methodist Episcopal; Webster was Catholic; Brown had a Baptist minister president for 200 years, but not now. Now, these and many others are as secular as West Point or Mizzou. Is this secularizing force in Western culture irresistible? Is SLU doomed to join Wash U in the secular race?

To remember our mission and imagine our future, we need to open and face this issue. I’d like to suggest three considerations: (about which I’ll say just enough to leave everyone confused). First, in the West, war, the law, and thinking about the cosmos have gone from religious to secular – and now the university?  Second: the church, which invented higher education, still needs it – and not just for the young. Third, Jesuit-sponsored universities can retain their identity, if their faculties want them to.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Oxonian Idea of a University: The Annual DeLubac Lecture, Wednesday, March 20

18th Annual DeLubac Lecture

The Oxonian Idea of a University:

John Henry Newman’s Formative Oriel Experience

Lecturer: Dr. Peter Nockles, Ph.D.,
Assistant Librarian of Printed Books and Methodist Collections,
Methodist Archives and Research Centre, John Rylands Library, University of Manchester.

7:00pm Wednesday March 20
Saint Louis Room, Busch Student Center

Dr. Peter Nockles is a leading expert in the history of the Oxford Movement and has written extensively on the subject. His publications include the highly acclaimed study, The Oxford Movement in Context: Anglican High Churchmanship, 1760-1857 (1994). He has been a Visiting Fellow at Oriel College, the long-time home of the Anglican John Henry Newman. Nockles is also a major contributor to a new history of Oriel College, Oxford. An introduction to his DeLubac lecture follows below:

Is there a crisis in the modern academy? Has the modern university abandoned the historic ideals of a humane liberal education and of a ‘republic of letters’ for a de-humanizing corporate and utilitarian model rooted in commercial considerations? If so, can the educational ideals of learning for its own sake and for training the mind for a life of service espoused by John Henry Newman in his classic Idea of A University be recaptured and reapplied for the world of today?

This lecture poses such questions and seeks to explore the practical historical roots and context for the genesis of Newman’s vision – his paternal or pastoral notions and practice as a tutor at Oriel College, Oxford, and plans for the revival of the medieval ideals of college life whereby his famous dedication to the importance of personal influence whereby ‘heart speaks to heart’ was best realised; forming the later blueprint for his Dublin lectures that made up his Idea of a University and plans for the new Catholic University which he founded in Ireland.

At a time of uncertainty and challenge, Newman’s vision has a relevance and resonance for the world of the university today, which should be heeded.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Fr. Heithaus’ Example: A Duty to Lead

Paul Lynch

Francis Xavier is said to have boasted, “give me a child of seven, and I will give you the man.” Even if that attribution is apocryphal, it is not wrong: the Jesuits can get their hooks in you. I graduated from a Jesuit high school in 1989, at a time when Pedro Arrupe’s admonition to be “Men for Others” was on everyone’s lips. (Later, when the school finally admitted girls, it became “Men and Women for Others.”) It was a time when liberation theology was still alive and leading to the martyrdom of Jesuits like Rutilio Grande. We were taught about Oscar Romero and the four American missionaries who were raped and murdered by the Salvadoran military. That education led me to go on a trip to Peru, where I met Jesuits serving the poorest communities while under threat from the Sendero Luminoso, a Maoist terror group. These men—and particularly the Peruvians with whom they worked—soon revealed by their example that it was actually my classmates and I who were being evangelized on that mission trip.

A few months after my high school graduation, the massacre at the University of Central America reinforced the risk of following the Gospel. When I visited the Jesuit teachers I had befriended at Loyola, I remember seeing commemorations of the UCA martyrs hanging in their residences. It was clear that this horrible event had not only shaken the Jesuits but galvanized them. In a small way, it also galvanized me: after college, I served two years as a Jesuit volunteer in Kingston, Jamaica, where I once again witnessed Jesuits living in the most dangerous neighborhoods, confronting the criminal gangs that were often indistinguishable from the government. (Six years after my return from Jamaica, another Jesuit was murdered for working with poor farmers on land reform.)

So, when I was offered a position here at SLU, I was pleased to be coming back to a Jesuit institution, where I expected to encounter the same kind of commitment to social justice. In my five years here, I’ve witnessed the Jesuit mission in many ways: in the College-in-Prison Program, in Casa Salud, in the service trips, in Micah House, most especially in the desire of faculty and students to find magis—something more—in their work. Nor is it at all surprising to me that a Jesuit like Fr. Heithaus would have stood up and called for desegregation at SLU in the 1940s, even at the risk of punishment and exile. Certainly he sets a fitting example as we discern the future of his and our university.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Spring Break Hiatus

Dear Readers,

We are going to take a brief hiatus during the week of spring break.  We’ll be here to moderate comments and accept submissions, but won’t offer new essays or commentary.

The first four weeks of this new adventure that is the Heithaus Haven have been exciting.  Here are a few summary statistics:

Ø  11 essays and entries have been posted, 2 of them contributed by guests
Ø  25 comments have been offered and shared
Ø  4,602 pageviews have been logged (3 of them from Romania and 2 of them from China)
Ø  The post with the most pageviews, at 607, is Steve Harris’ letter to Thomas Brouster, Chairman of the SLU Board of Trustees.

Thank you readers and guest contributors, for helping the Heithaus Haven get off to such a wonderful start. 

We look forward to more discussion in the comments section, and to more submissions from guest contributors.  We would like to especially encourage submissions from or on behalf of SLU staff members and hourly workers.  We’ll be back with a new post on Monday, March 18.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Tale of Two "Princes"

A Full Time Faculty Member at SLU

It is an interesting historic coincidence that Ignatius Loyola and Niccolo Machiavelli were contemporaries since they exhibit such dramatic differences in their approach to what we would now call “leadership.”  Although Machiavelli has been much-maligned (and many have argued he was simply an Italian patriot), his approach could be perceived as quite effective. He saw leadership solely in terms of power while Ignatius saw it as a service to others in the name God. Machiavelli saw others as objects to be manipulated through fear while Ignatius saw others as creatures of God to be loved as one loves oneself. Machiavelli’s “effective use of fear” contrasts sharply with Ignatius’ “humble practice of love.”

Machiavelli’s most important words of advice to The Prince were that, “It is safer to be feared than loved.” Fear, he believed, was the most stable of all human emotions and the one that could most readily manipulate people. The Prince must therefore seize power and rule his kingdom through the exercise of fear.  The Prince could accomplish a great deal, stay in power,and cement his legacy if he knew how to manipulate the masses effectively.

On this account, fear is a more stable emotion than love. Love seems fleeting but fear endures.  Keep the people afraid and you will never lose power.  But the mistake here is in thinking that power is something that we should pursue and cling to – even if it is in the professed purpose of some greater end.On this view we never develop “friends” we merely “collect allies” in our quest for control. Fear inhibits the development of true character and genuine relationships. Fear might work as a tool on those who are immature and easily intimidated.  But it has little effect on those who possess a higher vocation than “merely keeping their jobs.”

Although we now have a beautiful monument in midtown – and many have benefitted including faculty and students—at what price has this been bought? The efficacy of the Machiavellian model proves itself well with buildings and property but how well does it really work with persons who are made in the imago Dei? This route has left faculty afraid to voice their concerns on a wide range of subjects and students feeling disempowered.  People who question authority—one of the key aspects of a Jesuit liberal arts education—are punished and intimidated through fear. The result is that what small pockets of genuine community that do exist at SLU are undermined in significant ways at the institutional level.  There are those who possess power and those who don’t. As Henri Nouwen has observed, “It’s easier for us to control people than it is to love them.” However, there is another story that can—and should—be told.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Semper Ref!: On Alasdair MacIntyre’s “The End of Education: The Fragmentation of the American University”

Claude Pavur, S.J.

All the compact power of a bullet, all the promise of a life-saving pill — that is how I see Alasdair MacIntyre's sweetly bitter salvo, "The End of Education: The Fragmentation of the American University" (Commonweal CXXXIII: 18 [October 20, 2006]: 10-14, still freely available on the Web, as at  MacIntyre takes the position that higher education can and ought to be less fragmented than it has allowed itself to become through the rampant differentiation of disciplines, and through the accompanying professionalization and specialization affecting teachers, curricula, and students.  Catholic universities can follow a "distinctive calling" to show even their secular counterparts how a more integrated approach can be achieved.  Here's the bitter part: we are not going to do it.  We lack the will.  And probably we lack the vision too, or any belief that the vision is a salutary one.  Thus we will avoid this pill as if it were a bullet.

A pity, really.  Students lose out. Educators lose out.  Society loses out.  The world loses out.  One might easily imagine that as larger, deeper, better, more integral and unifying views of human existence are foregone, the kind of human flourishing that we desperately need will elude us by wider and wider margins.  Consequently bad political and social and personal choices are made.  Corruption grows; ethics weaken; the family unit collapses; crises abound; decline accelerates.  The university's failures will have become society's failure, and vice-versa.  We lose our grip on Shalom. We do not even want it anymore. Hell! 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Remembering Our Mission, Imagining Our Future

The Jesuits of Saint Louis University have organized a Jesuit Mission Series for the SLU community.  The three-part series begins on Thursday, February 28, at 4 pm, in the ballroom of the College Church (lower level).  Fr. Joseph Tetlow, SJ, will speak about our “Catholic and Jesuit Heritage.”

Here at the Heithaus Haven, we would like to provide a space in the comments section for continued conversation following each presentation – conversation that we hope will inspire us to action. 

Please join us in the comments section, following Fr. Tetlow’s presentation. Or, if you are so inspired, send us a reflection for publication as a blog post.

Update (03.01):  More information and resources are available at

Update (03.23):  The text of Fr. Tetlow's presentation is available here.

For an introduction to the series from Fr. Patrick Quinn, SJ, read on… (Thank you, Fr. Quinn, for sharing these remarks.)

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Heithaus Homily: February 11, 1944

The report on the Homily in
the St. Louis Globe Democrat
“Startled students of St. Louis University at the regular students’ mass heard Rev. Claude Herman Heithaus, S.J., make an impassioned plea yesterday for them to rid themselves of race prejudice and make a pledge ‘never again to have any part’ in the wrongs white men have done to Negroes.” So began the St. Louis Globe-Democrat’s brief report on the Heithaus Homily, published on Saturday, February 12, 1944. And students were not the only ones startled: university faculty and administration, together with civic and church leaders across St. Louis, were also caught off-guard by this dramatic intervention in the tense debates surrounding racial segregation in the city and the state. “I’m surprised Father Heithaus spoke publically on his personal opinion in the matter at this time,” said Saint Louis University President, Rev. Patrick J. Holloran, S.J., that same Saturday in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I told Father Heithaus so.” Yet Claude Heithaus’ brave and forthright call for the SLU community to embody the ideals of its Catholic, Jesuit identity – to match words with deeds – led directly to the admission of one African-American woman and four African-American men for the 1944 summer session, making Saint Louis University the first historically-white university in a former slave state to admit African-American students.

The report on the Homily in
the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
In 1944, racial segregation in public institutions of education was mandated by law in the state of Missouri. Popular (albeit erroneous) belief held that private institutions, such as SLU, were also legally barred from attempting integration. Tensions surrounding the issue could run high: the previous year, as reported in the African-American newspaper, The Chicago Defender, a protest against segregation at Washington University, involving around 500 students, had been dispersed “and ringleaders expelled.” The issue was no less heated in Catholic institutions, for (also in 1943) the Archbishop of St. Louis, Most Rev. John J. Glennon, had privately intervened to block the admission of Mary Aloyse Foster, an African-American, to the Loretto Sisters’ Webster College (now Webster University).
In the midst of these developments, under President Holloran’s leadership, Saint Louis University began to officially explore the possibility of admitting black students.

On Friday, February 11, 1944, in Saint Francis Xavier College Church, the Jesuit Claude Heithaus rose to provide his own answer to the question. “Speaking with slow intensity” in a “quiet, penetrating voice” (according to a report that evening in the Post-Dispatch), he began:

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Letter to Mr. Thomas Brouster, chairman of SLU's Board of Trustees, from the president of the SLU chapter of the AAUP

Because the Heithaus Haven is  "an open and public space for dialogue, with focus on how our institution’s internal norms, practices, and structures embody (or fail to embody) its core values," the contributing editors wish to provide readers an opportunity to consider the message conveyed to Mr. Thomas Brouster, chair of the SLU Board of Trustees, by the president of SLU's Association of American University Professors (AAUP) chapter. His concern that there has been a breakdown in shared governance speaks to many aspects of the SLU mission statement, and provides an opportunity to reflect on how a modern university's structural values intersect with the gospel call to give voice to those who feel pushed to the margins of society.

The Heithaus Haven would welcome a response to this open letter from Mr. Brouster, or another trustee. This would help further the goals of this blog site, and encourage the open exchange intended by the contributing editors.

Update (02.23.2013):  Steven Harris has received a reply from Thomas Brouster. Please see Steven's comment below.

Mr. Thomas Brouster
Chairman, Board of Trustees of Saint Louis University

February 18, 2013

Dear Mr. Brouster,

I am writing to you as the president of the SLU chapter of the American Association of University Professors, concerning the actions of the Board of Trustees of SLU on Feb. 9.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

To Control or To Share?

A Chronicle article from July 23, 2009 attempts an answer to the question, “Exactly what is ‘shared governance?’”  Here at the Heithaus Haven, I'd like to ask a more specific question:  What does our Jesuit mission require of us vis-à-vis shared governance?

I'm an economist.  The unit of analysis in my discipline is the individual.  Economists (real ones, anyway) don't actually care about what’s “good for the country,” or what’s “good for the economy,” or what’s “good for business.”  From an economic perspective, only individuals matter, and all individuals matter equally.  This is the economic perspective.  Is it also an Ignatian perspective?  I’m going to suppose that it is. (Please feel free to affirm, refute, and otherwise debate in the comments.) I’d like to further suggest that at our Catholic, Jesuit institution, when we consider “shared governance,” we should take care not to forget that individuals matter.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Heithaus Haven and Tikkun Olam

Heithaus Haven and Tikkun Olam

Bob Cropf 

My thanks to Harold and Ken for getting us started with their inaugural essays on the purpose and meaning of Heithaus Haven. In this brief essay, I want to riff off their notions of “haven” and “shalom.” I think they are onto something that is central to the new endeavor that we are launching with this blog and website.

In the Jewish community, which I have been a part of since marrying a Jew nearly 30 years ago, the two words of haven or home and shalom are inextricably linked. According to Jewish tradition, the home should be a haven or, to be more accurate, a sanctuary. Quoting Anita Diament from her classic, Living a Jewish Life, "Shalom comes from the root shalem, which means ‘complete’ or ‘whole’"(1) (her italics).  She also says the Hebrew words for the goal of a peaceful home is shalom bayit, which does not mean a quiet home but a whole one.

This last point has particular significance in light of the recent turmoil on campus. I would argue that the current disharmony, which has deprived us of our peace and quiet, is the result of many of us seeking a more whole, or holy, community. This leads us to another Hebrew term, tikkun olam, which roughly translated means "to repair the world."

Saturday, February 16, 2013


Shortly before the launch of the Heithaus Haven, Ken Parker asked each of the contributing editors to reflect on why we decided to find a home in the Heithaus Haven.  I hope to offer a post with my response soon.  Today, I am moved to share wisdom I received from a friend and colleague this morning.  I met him in December, at the Novena of Grace, organized for the SLU community by the Jesuits.

I confessed to my friend that I have allowed myself to become increasingly discouraged and disheartened.  He replied to me, “Discouragement is not an option! That's of the evil spirit and we will have none of it. Just have to keep talking with each other and moving and hoping.”

My friend reminded me that the Heithaus Haven is one way we can keep talking and moving and hoping together, so that we might encourage one another.  What other opportunities do we have at SLU, to talk, to move, to hope, to encourage one another?  What other opportunities can we create at SLU, to talk, to move, to hope, to encourage one another?

Bonnie Wilson

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What Should We Think About Glory?

What Should We Think About Glory? 

Harold K. Bush

In his book Technopoly (1992), the media scholar Neil Postman described a tendency of “symbol drain” in an age of widespread mechanical reproduction.  By symbol drain, Postman referred to the way historical or traditional signifiers were slowly being drained of their value, emptied of whatever authoritative explanatory power they might have once held for people.  Among his illustrations were several religious symbols, including both Jesus and Santa Claus, with one memorable example being the way large department stores positioned such symbolism prominently in the holiday season, hoping to boost sales.  Postman argued persuasively twenty years ago that this drainage was greatly diminishing the key symbols of our culture.

As we launch the Heithaus Haven in early 2013, I cannot help but notice once again the phrase in the very first line of SLU’s Mission Statement that presents one of the most challenging interpretive tasks for a large and diverse intellectual community like ours:  “the greater glory of God.”  Throughout the history of the west, glory has been associated with the awe and sublimity of God’s presence; glory invokes the celebratory nature of our response to that presence.  The Greek term doxa is often translated as “brightness,” and C. S. Lewis spoke powerfully of the “weight” of God’s glory.  Glory evokes a sense of the glow of God’s greatness, goodness, and beauty, and as a result is often symbolized in Medieval and Renaissance art in the halos of saints.  The importance of glory is echoed here, in the fact that  “the greater glory of God”  is quoted directly in the mission statement of this, the Heithaus Haven, at its launching.

Saint Louis University is hardly alone among peer institutions in alluding up front to the basic goal of pursuing God’s glory, by the way.  This is common language in many mission statements of both Catholic and Protestant universities (and perhaps, again drawing upon Postman, more reason to think about how, sadly, the phrase has been drained of any significant meaning).

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Why do we need the Heithaus Haven?

Why do we need the Heithaus Haven?

Kenneth L. Parker

According to its literal meaning, a “haven” is a safe harbor for tempest tossed vessels, a quiet place to repair storm-damaged ships and to prepare for journeys on uncertain seas. A haven is not simply a place of repose, but a sheltered port to mend broken equipment and to plan for action.

We call this the Heithaus Haven, in honor of Fr. Claude Heithaus, S.J, because he exemplifies what we understand the Catholic Jesuit mission of Saint Louis University to be. He was not afraid to speak a truth that became clear to him: that racism is wrong, contrary to the gospel, and that the exclusion of African-Americans from this campus was a stain on our collective conscience that must end. His bold actions in February 1944 called for change. He issued this call to action in a homily at College Church and published articles in the University News and the Catholic Digest. Superiors harshly disciplined him and critics denounced as offensive his use of media to expose this wrong. Yet his bold actions, borne out of deep reflection and moral courage, effected change at this university. That same year the first African-American students registered for classes at SLU. We became the first historically-white university located in one of the fourteen former slave-holding states to do this. Other universities took courage from our example and desegregated in the years that followed.