Claude Heithaus was born in St. Louis in 1898. After attending Saint Louis University he entered the Society of Jesus in 1920 and later earned a Ph.D. from the University of London. Heithaus taught at St. Louis University for several decades, and is remembered as the founder of the University News and for his research as a classical archaeologist.
On February 11, 1944, Heithaus preached a homily at the College Church in which he denounced racism and urged the acceptance of African-Americans students into the University community. This action earned him the bitter opposition of the archbishop of St. Louis, John Joseph Glennon, but Heithaus's efforts contributed to a change in the University's policy toward African-American students. Later that year, Saint Louis University became the first historically white institution of higher learning in a former slave state to admit persons of color.
Father Heithaus's outspoken calls for an end to institutional racism, which he conducted in the press as well as the pulpit, and his refusal to remain silent on this topic after being instructed to do so by his superiors earned him condemnation at the time. Today these actions are understood as a fitting expression of the Jesuit commitment to the message of the Gospel and to social justice.
Claude Heithaus died in 1976, after having returned to Saint Louis University faculty some years earlier after service at Marquette University. Although he won praise from the Father General of the Jesuits, and from the French government for his courageous stand against racism, Father Heithaus has yet to be granted a permanent memorial within the Saint Louis University community. This web site is dedicated to his memory.
About the Heithaus Forum
The Heithaus Forum designates a website meant to augment communication among the faculty members of the college of Arts and Sciences of Saint Louis University on issues of university and college educational policy. It shall be independent of the university administration and other faculty bodies.
The directors of the Heithaus Forum shall be five senior faculty members of the College of Arts and Sciences. The members shall replace themselves at the rate of one per academic year, with a new member appointed by unanimous vote of the four continuing members. Members shall be replaced during academic leaves.
One member shall be chosen annually by unanimous vote of the members to serve as convener. The convener may succeed himself/herself. One member shall serve as secretary for the year, and may succeed himself/herself. The secretary is responsible for keeping and preserving records.
The directors shall appoint an editor of the website. They serve at the pleasure of the directors, and may be replaced by majority vote of the directors.
The directors shall meet at the call of the convener to discuss and decide upon Forum policy. They have sole authority to determine policy by majority vote. The editor and manager shall attend meetings on policy matters, but ordinarily not on personnel issues.
In such discussions with the members of the university administration and members of other faculty groups such as the university Senate and the college Faulty Council the convener shall speak for the Forum and shall represent the directors, and shall report to them the content of the discussions as they bear on policy and personnel. When appropriate the directors shall attend such discussions.
The members and the manager shall report their participation in the work of the Forum annually as service to the university and professional service.
University policy includes education, pedagogy, administration, personnel, financial and physical resources and use, the aesthetics of the campus, and all matters touching on the well-being of faculty, staff and students. All of these are fit matters for comment in the Forum.
Contributors to the website shall be ranked faculty of the college, except in cases determined by the directors. Administrators who have faculty positions have other venues for expression of their views and should ordinarily use them rather than the Forum.
The website shall be used to post, for stated periods of time, brief essays by faculty. Essays should be no longer than 1,500 words.The editor shall receive submissions, edit them in accord with Forum policy, post them and replace them in time. She/he shall determine the order of publication, and determine what shall be published, keeping in mind that the purpose of the Forum foster the communication of the widest latitude of faculty opinion. She/he shall consult with the convener and directors when necessary in matters of policy. She/he shall insist that the accepted rules of academic discourse be followed.
The editor may solicit essays as need be, consulting the directors as need be.
Faculty shall be reminded by the editor in timely fashion of the availability of the website and of website editorial policy determined by the directors in consultation with the editor. The editor shall determine what shall be posted, in accord with Forum policy, consulting with the directors when necessary, and shall insist that the usual rules of academic discourse be followed.
Since university administrators with faculty positions have other venues for the publication, publication of their views in the Forum shall be considered by invitation of the directors only. For purposes of Forum publication, chairpersons shall be considered as ranked faculty.