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SLU Professors Allege Smaller Raises Are Retaliation For Speaking Out Against Biondi

An archway entrance to Saint Louis University
chuteme | Flickr | Creative Commons

Updated at 8:15 a.m. Friday to correct the organization Dr. Harris heads. It is the American Association of University Professors, not Professionals.

Updated at 6:15 p.m. to correct the size of the raise pool. It is $13.4 million, not $3.4 million.

Some faculty at Saint Louis University say they’re facing retaliation for speaking out against the leadership of outgoing president Father Lawrence Biondi.

Earlier this week, SLU announced that it had set aside about $13.4 million in its current budget to boost the salaries of faculty and staff. That's an average of about 4 percent, though the exact size of a raise is determined by the chairs of departments and approved by the vice president of academic affairs and Father Biondi himself.

About 20 professors say they received much lower raises than expected. One of them, Steve Harris, a mathematics professor who is also president of the SLU chapter of the American Association of University Professors, says many had one thing in common.

"The large majority of them are people who were one way or another active in the struggle against Father Biondi in the past year," he said. "We don't have a statement form the president saying 'Yes I did it,' but the vice president of academic affairs said that the process would be followed fairly. One cannot without an actual statement say for certain who it was who did it, but it seems fairly clear."

In a written statement, SLU stood by the process, saying salary recommendations are often raised or lowered.

Follow Rachel Lippmann on Twitter: @rlippmann

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.