Students Find "Nazis Rule!" Hate Message at SLU; School Investigates Burning Swastika

Lindsay Toler
Students and staff at Saint Louis University gather for a candlelight vigil to honor Holocaust Remembrance Day.
A candlelight vigil at Saint Louis University honoring victims of the Holocaust drew an unexpectedly-large crowd after students found two anti-Semitic messages on campus in the last two weeks.

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UPDATE: Burning Swastika Found Outside Saint Louis University Residence Hall

Ryan McKinley
The remains of a swastika left on SLU's campus.
Saint Louis University students found a swastika formed out of lit tea candles outside a residence hall for first- and second-year students last week.

The campus' public-safety department and St. Louis Metropolitan Police are investigating, but police say they haven't identified a suspect.

The symbol seemed even more threatening and hateful, students said, after the recent news that three people were shot and killed during a former KKK leader's alleged anti-semitic killing rampage at two Jewish community centers in Kansas City. Also, Holocaust Remembrance Day was Sunday.

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Watch This SLU Basketball Player Treat a Homeless Man to KFC, H&M and a Haircut

Blake Carelli, Michael and Austin McBroom together after a shopping spree.
Buried under the avalanche of selfies, lost-dog announcements and motivational quotes that usually pollute St. Louis' social-media scene is a video so heartwarming and honest that we're willing to forgive it for being a tad preachy.

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SLU Students, NASA Launch Camera Into Space

COPPER, a spacecraft built by Saint Louis University students to test infrared cameras in space.
A spacecraft built and operated by Saint Louis University students was launched into orbit Tuesday night.

COPPER (SLU-01) -- a one-kilogram, ten-centimeter cube designed to test how infrared cameras fare in space -- is the product of three years of design and construction by more than 50 engineering, aviation and technology students.

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St. Louis University Under Fire for Work with Doctor Who Infected AIDS Patients with Malaria

Wilson Delgado
With the support of a National Institutes of Health grant, Saint Louis University is partnering with a controversial Chinese doctor who once infected AIDS patients with malaria as part of a widely criticized practice.

The doctor in question is Xiaoping Chen of China's Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health (GIBH), which is partnering with the Center for World Health and Medicine at Saint Louis University to develop treatments for malaria. This collaboration is now facing scrutiny after Peter Heimlich -- son of the man behind the "Heimlich maneuver" -- began raising questions about Chen's past.

Heimlich, in a letter to SLU, outlines in detail Chen's "experiments" on AIDS patients that involved inducing high malarial fevers, and asks the university to reevaluate its partnership.

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Father Lawrence Biondi to Step Down Sept. 1: "I Leave SLU in A Very Strong Position"

Father Lawrence Biondi.
At a Saturday night gala in May, Father Lawrence Biondi, the embattled president of Saint Louis University, announced that he would be stepping down -- after many months of protests and high-profile resignations. Immediately after the announcement, questions lingered about when Biondi would actually retire as president and make way for the new leadership his growing group of critics have sought.

On Friday, SLU announced that Biondi will step down effective September 1 -- sooner than some anticipated.

"Over the summer I decided that the time is right for me to retire," Biondi says in a statement. "While I will miss the mission, work and activity of the University, I am also looking forward to new challenges that lie ahead for me. I leave SLU in a very strong position, and I look forward to continuing to provide input to the Board as it searches for my permanent successor."

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Shearwater High School Geared Toward Dropouts Is Closing After Three Years

Students in Shearwater's first graduating class.
Shearwater High School, a public charter school geared toward dropouts and at-risk youth in St. Louis, is closing its doors after three years in operation, shedding light on the obstacles facing the most vulnerable students and the educators trying to help them graduate.

"Young people are continuing to hemorrhage out of our public-school system at an alarming rate," Stephanie Krauss, president and CEO of Shearwater Education Foundation, tells Daily RFT. "We have to figure this out."

Krauss, whose efforts RFT chronicled in a 2009 cover story on the dropout crisis in St. Louis, says that the model was just not working, and it is time to reevaluate.

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Pevely Dairy Site: What Will Happen to Historic Sign Sitting On Top of SLU Building? (PHOTOS)

Pevely sign.
One of the biggest St. Louis stories this week is news that Father Lawrence Biondi, president of Saint Louis University, will be stepping down after months of faculty and student protest. One controversial component of Biondi's leadership is his record on land acquisition and development -- with some preservationists and civic groups arguing that he has had a negative impact on the area around SLU.

And one site that has sparked quite a lot of debate is the historic Pevely Dairy complex on South Grand Boulevard. A lingering question there (and one we got from several readers after we wrote about the site eariler this year): What happened to the iconic "PEVELY" sign that once stood tall atop the building?

Daily RFT obtained these aerial photos showing the red letters sitting flat on the roof, generally invisible from the surrounding streets. Will the sign ever be viewable again to the public?

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Lawrence Biondi's Retirement Speech at SLU Gala: "It Is Time For Me to Move On" (VIDEO)

via YouTube
Lawrence Biondi's gala speech.
It is time for Lawrence Biondi to move on.

So said Saint Louis University's president Father Lawrence Biondi in his announcement that he will be stepping down as head of the school -- a move that surprised many and sent reporters scrambling for details Saturday night. He broke the news at a private 25th anniversary gala over the weekend, and shortly after, rumors started to spread on Twitter about the embattled president's retirement. SLU officials sent out a statement saying the university will be searching for Biondi's successor in the fall.

Now, SLU has released footage of his much discussed speech. Watch his remarks below.

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Father Lawrence Biondi Is Stepping Down as Saint Louis University President

biondi 3.jpg
Father Lawrence Biondi.
Father Lawrence Biondi, the embattled president of Saint Louis University, announced tonight that he is stepping down -- after months of protest from faculty and students pushing for him to resign as head of the Jesuit school.

"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 says in a statement just sent out by the university. "And, so, with the blessing of our Board of Trustees, I have decided it is time for a transition in leadership for Saint Louis University -- time for me to move on to the next phase of my life. This fall, the Board will launch a search for my successor. I will be here as long as they need me, and will do everything I can to make the transition to our next president as smooth as possible."

The move comes after a particularly contentious two weeks involving a dispute at a student-government meeting as well as Biondi's decision to skip out on a much anticipated faculty-senate meeting. The full statement from the university is below.

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