Readers Write (March 29): Condoleezza Rice; college sports at Northwestern, Gustavus; Cargill outsourcing; tax climate

  • Updated: March 28, 2014 - 6:39 PM

An institution of ideas should welcome a former secretary of state with open arms.


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Of all the places to try to stifle speech …

Does anybody else see the irony in a member of a group called Students for a Democratic Society instigating an effort to deny Condoleezza Rice her right to free speech because he favors “liberal and radical” causes (“Activists urge U to revoke Condoleezza Rice invitation,” March 28). Aren’t our colleges and public universities supposed to teach our children how to think, not what to think? And how are they to do that when speech they don’t agree with is denied?

Gail Mathews, Apple Valley



Issues at Northwestern and Gustavus Adolphus

The National Labor Relations Board gave the green light this week for Northwestern University football players to unionize, and a March 27 commentary (“The state of black players is the true March Madness”) raised concern over the graduation gap between white and black basketball players. Has society lost its way in regard to college athletics? The vast majority of student-athletes do not go on to the professional ranks. It is true that the NCAA and colleges do rake in an obscene amount of money from a few athletics, football and basketball being the primary drivers.

The questions that need addressing ought to be: Why are colleges like Dayton, Duke, Harvard, Kansas, Villanova and Xavier capable of graduating all basketball players, while others fail to crack 50 percent? What other factors are contributing to the achievement gap, specifically with basketball players? When do we start holding student-athletes accountable for poor performance in the classroom?

Chris Lund, Hamburg

• • •

I understand where the Northwestern football players are coming from with their request to unionize. However, there could be a significant downside to becoming “employees” of the university. As such, their scholarships could be considered income and taxed accordingly. I’m sure Northwestern’s tuition is somewhat north of $30,000 per year, with board and room at least $4,000 per year. Taxes would have to be withheld from this amount, and at year’s end, the athlete would need to file a tax return and pay the tax. If this becomes reality, would academic scholarships also become taxable income? Where does this all play out?

Chuck Koegl, Brooklyn Park

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I am not a Nordic skier. I simply am not made of the mettle it takes to be one. I spent my college years alongside members of the Gustavus Adolphus Nordic ski team, and while I questioned their sanity often, I never questioned what an amazing group of student-athletes they were. These individuals trained year-round, multiple hours each day, in any conditions Minnesota could throw at them. They did it quietly, frequently on their own, knowing that they would never compete in front of packed stadiums.

On Wednesday evening, their sport, their aspirations and, for many, the reason they chose this school were just as quietly taken away from them. The Gustavus administration terminated the Nordic ski program. The students were told the decision was not based on money, but a “reallocation of resources and support.” No further transparency was offered.

These students have the highest grade-point averages of any sport, and the financial burden to the institution is a trivial part of its overall balance sheet. This totalitarian decision, made without student representation, is indicative of institutional dissolution of checks and balances.

Please make your voice heard, and help me help these incredible people realize their athletic dreams.

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