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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Recent turmoil at Saint Louis University between its longtime president and students and faculty critics has given way to hope and optimism as the Jesuit school seeks its first new leader in more than a quarter-century.
The Rev. Lawrence Biondi presided over a 42 percent student body increase, a near doubling of full-time faculty and nearly $1 billion worth of new construction since his 1987 inauguration. Critics say he also led by fear and intimidation, stifling dissent and alienating campus members who called for his resignation.
Biondi announced his retirement in May and escalated the timetable with a September 1st departure for a one-year sabbatical. SLU must now consider whether to again hire a priest for its top job or look outside religious circles for a lay leader.
Saint Louis University officials now have a timeline to move forward replacing President Lawrence Biondi. He announced today that he will retire September 1.
On May 4 Biondi told students and faculty he intended to retire, but today's announcement is the first time he has give a specific date for the move. In a statement from Biondi, he says “Just as I helped lead SLU’s transformation when I arrived here more than 25 years ago, I know it is now time for the next transformation to begin.”
Biondi is one of the longest serving presidents at an American Jesuit college or university.
One suspect is being investigated in connection to a possible sexual assault at an off-campus St. Louis University apartment.
Police received reports that a 21-year-old man was boasting about having sex with a teen at an off campus apartment. The girl in question told investigators she could not remember the encounter.
The incident occurred in the 300 block of South Grand Avenue.
Irate faculty and students at St. Louis University plan to take their issues with their school's president to the streets of the mid-town campus.
A protest march is planned this afternoon by members of the SLU community against university president Father Lawrence Biondi.
The move comes after Biondi and another high ranking university official canceled an appearance before the faculty senate. The group had hoped to question Biondi about the school's future.
SLU officials issued a statement Monday saying the two did not appear because they were focused on finding a Months ago the group voted no confidence in Biondi. Some have called for him to step down.
The march starts at 1pm this afternoon at the Frost Campus Clock Tower.
It will proceed to Father Biondi`s residence at Cartier Hall, then continue down the main university thoroughfare to Vandeventer.
It will then go north to Lindell, east to Grand and then south DuBourg Hall.
There's been more turmoil this week between Saint Louis University's president and faculty.
The SLU Arts and Sciences Faculty Council voted Thursday to censure Father Lawrence Biondi. The move comes a day after the president had two faculty members removed from a meeting with the student government, even though the SGA's rules call for only open meetings.
The university defended the ejections in a statement yesterday, saying the meeting was planned as "a dialogue between the president and student government representatives only."
More agitation is likely on Tuesday when Father Biondi is scheduled to speak before the Faculty Senate.
Both the Faculty and Student Senates have already issued no-confidence votes on Biondi’s leadership.
Jim Crews served as the interim coach for the SLU Billikens men's basketball team.
Crews led the team to their first A-10 title in decades and a number 4 seed in the NCAA tournament.
The deal is reportedly long-term, but specifics have not been released.
ATLANTA (AP) - Jim Larranaga, who led Miami to the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season and tournament titles and a No. 2 ranking, has been selected The Associated Press' coach of the year.
Larranaga received 29 votes Thursday from the same 65-member national media panel that selects the weekly Top 25. Jim Crews of Saint Louis got 19 votes and Mark Few of Gonzaga had 11. The voting ended on Selection Sunday.
The 63-year-old, two-time-hip-replacement patient had a 29-7 record in his second season with the Hurricanes and they were made a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament.
He is the first Miami coach to win the award and is the first Atlantic Coast Conference coach to get it since Roy Williams of North Carolina in 2006.
The New York native led George Mason to the Final Four in 2006.
Meanwhile, The Saint Louis University Billikens easily handled their first round matchup against New Mexico State Thursday afternoon, winning 64-to-44. They move on to play Oregon on March 23rd.
The Missouri Tigers also got a ticket to the big dance. Mizzou is the ninth seed in the Midwest. They'll face the No. 8 seed Colorado State on Thursday.
If Mizzou and SLU make it through the first two rounds of the tournament, they would face each other in the Elite 8.
After an up and down season, the Fighting Illini made it into the tournament with a No. 7 seed and will face No. 10 seed Colorado in the Eastern Region on Friday.
"It's never perfect, but that was fun to watch," interim Coach Jim Crews said after No. 16 Saint Louis trounced La Salle in the second half and clinched a share of the Atlantic 10 title with a 78-54 victory Saturday. "Really, they kept getting better and better, and that's unusual. That's very unusual."
Dwayne Evans had 16 points and 17 rebounds for Saint Louis, which led by just two points at halftime and then made 17 of 20 shots. Kwamain Mitchell had 19 points and six assists on senior day to help the Billikens (24-6, 13-3) win their first conference title since 1970-71 in the Missouri Valley and clinch the top seed in the A-10 Tournament next week in Brooklyn, N.Y.
"Everyone made plays," Mitchell said. "We kept pushing it and pushing it, and we came up with some great shots."
Rob Loe matched his career best with 20 points, hitting all seven shots. The Billikens shot 58 percent overall, one game after shooting a season-worst 30 percent in an overtime loss at Xavier.
"I couldn't be more pleased or proud or tickled for these guys to win a championship," Crews said. "It's hard to win a game, much less a championship."
Saint Louis has won 12 of its last 13 under Crews, who made it a smooth transition after taking over for the late Rick Majerus with no assurances past the end of the season. The Billikens can take the title outright if VCU loses at Temple today.
Seniors Cory Remeken, Cody Ellis and Mitchell were among the first to snip the nets.
"I'm sure he's proud right now," Ellis, an Australian import whose parents made the trip for the last two games, said in reference to Majerus. "He's watching this from somewhere. "
Tyrone Garland had 15 points off the bench for La Salle (21-8, 11-5). The Explorers entered the day in second place after winning seven of eight and had been 2-0 in the Chaifetz Arena before absorbing a 24-point loss that was the school's worst of the season.
"That was about as bad a beating as you could take in the second half," La Salle Coach John Giannini said. "I'm really disappointed with the way we played. They took it to us. They won a lot of individual battles — maybe all of them in the second half."
Ramon Galloway, who leads the Explorers with a 17.8-point average, was just 3 for 12 and had eight points.