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.
St Louis based Peabody Energy is holding its annual shareholders meeting in Wyoming to highlight the importance of the coal-rich Powder River Basin.
A delegation of more than a dozen retired and active mine workers from West Virginia, Illinois, Kentucky and Florida are protesting.
One group critical of the company, Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment, claims the company is trying to avoid hearing concerns in its hometown.
Meantime, thousands of protesting mine workers returned to St. Louis today as hearings begin in U.S. Bankruptcy Court on demands by Peabody's Patriot Coal Company. Miners accuse Peabody of eliminating health care for retired miners and for making cuts in pay, benefits and working conditions for current miners.
In a statement, Peabody Energy says "The union continues to grandstand when it knows that this matter will be decided in the courts. Patriot was highly successful following its launch more than five years ago with significant assets, low debt and a market value that more than quadrupled in less than a year. Peabody has lived up to its obligations and continues to do so. This is a matter between the union and Patriot Coal, and will be decided in the bankruptcy court."
At the start of the game, a group raised a banner that read "Alums for No Confidence," a reference to the no confidence votes issued by the university faculty and student government late last year.
In Biondi's 20 page report to campus yesterday, he acknowledged the criticism against him. He said that although he didn't agree with all of it, he's "committed to being part of the solution; to working more closely with those...who say that their voices are not being heard.”
Ten coal miners were arrested during the march on the energy giant's head quarters. The members of the United Mine Workers of America say their members could lose healthcare and pension benefits if Patriot Coal goes bankrupt. The protesters say Peabody engineered the failure of Patriot.
Peabody maintains that Patriot was a viable company and struggled without any interference from Peabody.
KTRS's Michael Golde is on the scene and reports that the protesters' goal was to get arrested. They hope to draw attention to what they believe is a unfair deal concerning their pension and health benefits.
Peabody's Senior Vice President of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications Vic Svec, says this is a matter between Patriot coal and the United Mine Workers of America. Many of the former miners at the protest, worked for Patriot Coal. They argue that Peabody Energy made Patriot Coal a separate company that was never supposed to succeed. They accuse Peabody of "fraudulent conveyance,” or transfer of money with the intent to hurt creditors, but that charge must be proved to hold Peabody liable for potential losses in retirement benefits.
There were also miners arrested at another protest of Peabody last month. The protest remains peaceful and those miners arrested were very cordial with police, even shaking hands with the arresting officers.
Tuesday's assaults were the latest in a series of violent incidents over the last month at Menard Correctional Center and other Illinois state prisons. Last Thursday, a Menard inmate died in what one official called suspicious circumstances.
Union officials say the violence is a result of Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn's decision to close several prisons around the state to save money.
Tuesday's assaults happened as about 200 union members marched outside the prison in the southern Illinois town of Chester. They were protesting over what they say are growing threats to their safety.
Corrections officials say the attack led to a lockdown.