Saint Louis University

William P. Johnson, new dean of Saint Louis University's law school
Saint Louis University

Saint Louis University has named William P. Johnson, a member of its faculty since 2012, as the new dean of its law school.

Johnson, 45, who has been director of the school’s Center for International and Comparative Law, takes over Jan. 3 from the retiring Michael Wolff, who has been dean since 2013. Johnson also has directed the SLU Summer Law program at the university’s campus in Madrid, Spain.

SLU's new version of its Billiken mascot
Bill Barrett | provided by SLU

Stung by the negative reception given its recent revamping of the Billiken mascot, Saint Louis University wants public input for a do-over.

SLU President Fred Pestello resorted to his favorite communication channel, Twitter, on Tuesday in a politically themed presentation titled "Decision 2016." It directs anyone interested in helping to shape Billiken 3.0 to an online poll to give views on the color, eyes, hairdo and other features on the upcoming revision.

Mario González Contreras, on a speaking tour to spread awareness about the Ayotzinapa 43, attends a Saint Louis University student mass at St. Francis Xavier College Church after speaking with students.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Mario González Contreras doesn’t like speaking at universities.

The students who fill the lecture halls and seminar rooms are about the same age as his son, César. He notices his son’s features in their faces. Or maybe, he looks for them. And that’s when it hits him the hardest.

On Sunday evening, González stood behind a lectern at Saint Louis University’s Center for Global Citizenship. About two dozen students listened intently as he talked about his son.

A metallic green sweat bee sits in a case among other species at Associate Professor Gerardo Camilo's Saint Louis University lab.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In a community garden in central St. Louis, Saint Louis University biologist Gerardo Camilo walked methodically, scanning the plants while holding a butterfly net. Then, he stopped and stared intently at a patch of impatiens. 

He was pursuing a bee that was weaving in between the stems of the flowers. In one fell swoop, he swung the net down and clutched the net with a fist to trap the bee inside. He examined his captive with a quizzical expression. 

"Wow! I have never seen this in my life," Camilo said. "What the hell are you?"

Camilo and other scientists have found that bee populations are abundant and very diverse in urban areas, compared to rural areas, a finding that could help save endangered bees, important pollinators.

On Chess: Saint Louis University team ready for battle

Oct 26, 2016
Alejandro Ramirez is the chess coach at Saint Louis University.
Provided by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

The explosion of chess in St. Louis goes beyond the Chess Campus that sits on the corner of Euclid and Maryland in the Central West End. The great achievements of the World Chess Hall of Fame and the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis are numerous, but with the increasing demand around the country for collegiate chess, Saint Louis University has stepped up to the plate.

The newly minted program at SLU seeks to become the best in the country, a title already held by another St. Louis college: Webster University. Only four players are currently on scholarship on the SLU roster, but their achievements are impressive.

Provided by The Land Institute

Story updated at 1:18 p.m. Oct. 18 | Originally posted at 7:45 p.m. Oct. 11

Some scientists dream of a future in which people can add sorghum, intermediate wheatgrass and other currently wild perennial plants to their diet.

In St. Louis, researchers at the Missouri Botanical Garden and Saint Louis University are developing a list of wild perennials, which live for many years, to recommend for domestication. Researchers say such plants have the potential to make agriculture more sustainable and feed a growing human population.

GM Maurice Ashley presents a ceremonial check to Dariusz Swiercz.
David Llada | Millionaire Chess

One of the most attractive and unique open tournaments in the world has just finished. From Oct. 6-9, Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City hosted this chess-revolutionizing event – the 3rd Millionaire Chess Open. Players from all around the world came to New Jersey to not only participate in the tournament, but to enjoy the electric atmosphere.

The new Billiken mascot introduced in September 2016.
Bill Barrett/provided by SLU

The new Saint Louis University mascot is turning out to be a lot like New Coke.

After the revamped Billiken was introduced last month to a barrage of criticism, with adjectives like “petrifying,” “terrifying” and “the laughing stock of the nation,” SLU President Fred Pestello took to Twitter Tuesday to hint broadly that the new Billiken is in for big changes.

SLU's new version of its Billiken mascot
Bill Barrett | provided by SLU

Saint Louis University wanted its new Billiken mascot to be a little edgier, but based on reaction after it was introduced earlier this week, the school may have fallen over the edge.

Comments on Facebook, numbering more than 600 by Thursday morning, were overwhelmingly negative, starting with a mild “This is not ok” and going swiftly downhill from there. Signatures on an online petition calling on SLU President Fred Pestello to bring back the older, cuddlier version rose quickly past 1,500.

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

Georgetown University made headlines last week when it announced it would make amends for selling 272 slaves in 1838, a transaction worth $3 million in today’s economy.

The slaves were shipped from Jesuit plantations in Maryland to Louisiana — and some accompanied Jesuits in 1823 to a small school in St. Louis that would become Saint Louis University. There, according to an account, they helped build what would grow into the university.

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

As it approaches its 200th anniversary, Saint Louis University is mobilizing to combat shrinking enrollment, a reduction in federal grants and contracts and a rising amount of scholarship aid paid to its students.

A new report looking at issues raised by the university’s strategic plan cautions that in a changing higher education landscape, SLU must change as well.

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

Even before the National Labor Relations Board ruled this week that graduate student assistants at private universities have the right to form unions, Elizabeth Eikmann and her colleagues at Saint Louis University were talking about organizing.

Now, their campaign has begun.

Members of "The Palpations," a band started by second-year medical students, try to fix a broken guitar string during practice.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

During her first year of medical school, Katherine Hu struggled with the feeling that she didn’t measure up.

“You end up becoming, actually, pretty cynical. I’d be sitting in class, the professor’s speaking a million miles an hour, and I don’t know what’s going on,” Hu said. “It just becomes heavier and heavier … kind of hopeless sometimes.” 

Millennium Student Center at UMSL
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

After successful organizing campaigns with part-time faculty at Washington University, Saint Louis University and St. Louis Community College, a union is now turning its attention to the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

And a top UMSL official wants to make sure that teachers on campus know what is at stake.

St. Louis City Hall
Richie Diesterheft | Flickr

No one is quite sure when St. Louis began charging $35 to cancel a municipal court warrant. But a deal reached on Monday between the city and thousands of defendants who paid the fee over a seven-year period means it will never be charged again.

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

Would you pay a few thousand bucks to sit on the bench during a Saint Louis University basketball game as an honorary coach? Or be willing to round all your university purchases up to the next dollar and turn the difference into a donation instead of pocket change?

Those are just a couple of the hundreds of ideas submitted to a program called GrowingSLU, an effort to bolster the university through programs, academic or not, that contribute to both its mission and its bottom line.

Joe Biden speaking at the August 23, 2008 vice presidential announcement in Springfield, Illinois, while presidential nominee Barack Obama listens.
Daniel Schwen | Wikimedia Commons

It seems like a silly time to ask the question “do vice presidents matter?” when every half hour there’s chatter on news networks about who Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will choose as their running mates. But, yet, the vice presidency wasn’t always considered as significant as it is now.

Eli Chen | St. Louis Public Radio

There's good ozone and there's bad ozone. The good kind sits up high up in the stratosphere, protecting us from the sun's ultraviolet rays. The bad kind is formed by burning fossil fuels and is found in the smog in Los Angeles and China. 

Bad ozone can cause health problems for children, for the elderly and people with lung diseases like asthma. It can also harm other living things, like plants. But like other greenhouse gases, it is invisible. So it's hard for scientists to show people the effects of bad ozone, which contributes to climate change, said Jack Fishman, professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at Saint Louis University. 

To get the message across, in recent years, Fishman and other researchers at SLU set up special gardens funded by NASA to demonstrate how ozone levels affect living organisms. Their work is expanding now that they've received a $91,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to exhibit such plants year-round in "ozone chambers."

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

Part-time instructors at Saint Louis University have joined their colleagues at three other local campuses and voted to join the Service Employees International Union.

In results of mail-in balloting announced Monday, the unionization proposal won by a vote of 76 percent, 89-28.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh led a panel of local legal experts in a conversation about the month’s most pressing news about the law.

Joining the discussion was the dean of the Saint Louis University School of Law, Mike Wolff, who recently announced his intention to retire from the position. Wolff served for 13 years on the Missouri Supreme Court and as its Chief Justice from 2005-2007. He does not currently have a date set for his retirement.

Joining the discussion:

A high-definition X-ray processes a sample at Saint Louis University.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

It took three years for Dr. Enrico Di Cera and his team to map prothrombin, the protein that causes human blood to form clots. They ran countless samples through a machine, trying to find the conditions that would form a crystal large enough to be seen by a specialized X-ray.

“That’s the part that’s like cooking, not an exact science,” Di Cera said, at his laboratory at Saint Louis University on Thursday.

Legal Services Corporation president James Sandman speaks to students and faculty at Saint Louis University law school on March 1, 2016.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

In 2014, 1.8 million people appeared in New York courts without a lawyer. Included in that figure were 96 percent of eviction cases, 95 percent of child support cases, and two-thirds of the state's foreclosure cases that year.

The numbers are part of a broader "justice gap" in the civil courts, Legal Services Corporation president Jim Sandman told an audience at Saint Louis University law school on Tuesday. Declining federal money for legal aid programs, and a drop in other funding sources, mean the United States is no longer living up to a founding principle.

Scott Schliebe | Wikimedia Commons

Climate change is causing the Earth to change in drastic ways. Global temperatures are rising, oceans are warming, ice sheets are shrinking and the implications are vast for flora and fauna.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says “scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal.”

On Tuesday's 'St. Louis on the Air,' clinical psychologist Suma Chand will discuss overcoming fears and phobias, such as spiders.
Jake Vince | Flickr | http://bit.ly/1oDwd14

Airplanes. Insects. Rabid bears. Needles. There are millions of things to be scared of in everyday life but, for some, fears and phobias dominate the mind. Suma Chand, a clinical psychologist and associate professor in psychiatry with Saint Louis University, helps patients with phobias and fears overcome them.

SLU Psychologist Jillon Vander Wal, third from left, gathers for a portrait with the research assistants who work at the Eating and Weight Studies Lab.
provided | Jillon Vander Wal

In 2014 New Jersey college student Clarice Bourland spent most of her energy —and most of her day — deciding how much food she would allow herself to eat.

“The only things I ate were fruits, vegetables and egg whites, and I really limited that. I purged everything I ate. I was exercising, running over 50 miles a week. I was so afraid of food that I would hold my breath when I was going passed places with food because I was afraid that if I breathed in any particles of food I would become fat,” Bourland said.

SLU and the city of St. Louis are eyeing improvements to the intersection and Grand and Forest Park.
Google Street View | screenshot

The city of St. Louis and Saint Louis University may team up to improve traffic flow at the intersection of Forest Park Parkway and Grand Boulevard in Midtown.

The process is in the very early stages, a SLU spokesman said, and there is no guarantee that changes would be made. The university would fund a traffic study and then work with the city and a consultant to come up with new designs for the intersection at the heart of SLU's campus.

Salma Arastu

Artist Salma Arastu knows a thing or two about intercultural communication. She was born in India and raised in Hinduism before embracing Islam through her marriage. Now, she uses that melded faith background to build religious bridges through her artwork: Arabic calligraphy melded with abstract expressionist paintings.

A large crowd gathers at the clocktower on the campus of Saint Louis University.
Tim Lloyd | St. Louis Public Radio

Saint Louis University is getting pushback over how long it is taking to meet diversity goals agreed to by President Fred Pestello and student protesters last year. 

Saint Louis University President Fred Pestello addresses students at the university's Clock Tower last August after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson.
Saint Louis University

Two of 13 initiatives from a controversial agreement between Saint Louis University and student protesters in the aftermath of Ferguson unrest aimed at improving opportunities for black students on campus have been "substantially completed" in the last year, according to a school administrator tasked with overseeing the progress.

A large crowd gathers at the clocktower on the campus of Saint Louis University.
Tim Lloyd | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis-area student activists said University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe’s resignation has re-energized the student protest movement that sprang up around Ferguson a year ago.

Mizzou students’ demands for a more diverse and inclusive campus are similar to those made by St. Louis student activists.

Saint Louis University junior Jonathan Pulphus said Wolfe’s resignation proves that students' actions can change systems.

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