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With all the hype over the movie “Blackfish,” I was saddened to read what amounted to an endorsement not just of SeaWorld, but of that organization’s captive whale program, in the Jan. 12 travel section. Had the article only addressed the new Antarctica exhibit, I might have been able to overlook it (probably not), but to actually promote whales in captivity as an attraction that visitors shouldn’t miss really just made me mad. We will be canceling our subscription.
ROBYN BRUGGEMAN, Minneapolis
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I am very surprised that the Star Tribune would publish such a puff piece. Are we really to be suckered in by cutesy storytelling, to believe penguins are content in captivity? But then to read a promotion of the largest captive whale population at Shamu Stadium in light of the sickening but well-documented allegations of “Blackfish,” brushed off as “inaccurate and misleading” by SeaWorld (surprise!), is disturbing.
PENNY WINTON, Minneapolis
Any academic benefit must be intangible
The ridiculous argument that athletic dominance is in any way connected with academic excellence (Letter of the Day, Jan 17) is easy to dispose of. Here are the top 10 universities rated by US News & World Report on academic excellence: Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Stanford, the University of Chicago, Duke, MIT, Penn, Caltech and Dartmouth (the last two tied). I don’t see the football powerhouses — Alabama, Auburn, Florida — among them. Nor are Arizona, Syracuse and Wisconsin, the current basketball poll leaders.
Striving for big-time athletic success diminishes the academic standing of a university by obscuring the major mission of generating and promulgating knowledge and learning and by the subsidy that athletic programs get from the central budget. Separating revenue-producing athletics from universities would go a long way toward improving higher education in the United States.
P.T. MAGEE, St. Paul
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.