If you seek the job, you'd better keep it


In the last week, two recently re-elected members of the Minnesota House, one Democrat and one Republican, indicated that they would not be serving their terms, even before taking the oath of office. The reason, apparently, is that each has been offered a more lucrative position elsewhere. What an insult to the people in their districts, to the House and to the election process.

It would seem that these jobs came out of nowhere. In the several weeks since the election? Unlikely. Apparently a commitment to the electorate does not equate with a commitment to the pocketbook. What about the commitment to the campaign workers and supporters who worked for the election of these two men?

At the very least, these two individuals should return every penny they received in campaign contributions -- from individuals, from political parties, from others. They can't reimburse voters for their bad faith, but at least some of their newly gotten gains can contribute to all those who were deceived -- all those who believed that these men would represent their interests.


* * *


Actually, school ranks highly in many areas


A Jan. 4 letter states: "This school [the University of Minnesota] is never rated in the top 20 among state schools or any other schools. Why is that? I find this fact to be very disturbing. Once in a while the medical branch is noted, but nothing else."

This, of course, is far from the truth, as many programs at the university are highly ranked. For example, the latest U.S. News rankings of graduate/research programs in the College of Science and Engineering among public universities and (combined public and private) are: aerospace engineering, seventh (11th); biomedical engineering, 11th (23rd); chemistry, 10th (21st); chemical engineering, second (fourth); civil engineering, 10th (16th); computer engineering, 11th (18th); computer science, 17th (35th); Earth science, 16th (28th); electrical engineering, 13th (21st); environmental engineering, 12th (19th); materials, 11th (18th); mathematics, sixth (18th); mechanical engineering, eighth (15th), and physics, 15th (26th).


The writer is associate dean of the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota.

* * *


Even if it won't kill you, it's hardly a pleasure


In "We've given weight the wrong readout" (Jan. 4), Paul Campos makes the ridiculous assertion that our medical definition of a "normal weight" should be changed simply because being overweight or slightly obese may not increase your risk of early death. He tries to keep the focus on medical studies and mortality statistics to distract the reader from the assertion that he is implicitly arguing: that carrying tens or hundreds of pounds of excess adipose tissue is apparently not an issue.

In reality, all you have to do is look around in public to see the profound negative effects that excess weight has on quality of life. People have numerous goals and priorities, but almost everyone wants to be able to walk up and down flights of stairs without getting winded, have the energy to play with their kids after work, and not have constant joint pain from carrying excess weight. If Campos doesn't think these things are an issue, I have a 50-pound weighted vest I'd like him to wear for the rest of his natural life. After all, I doubt it would increase his risk of early death, so what's the big deal?


* * *


Organization painted with too broad a brush


A Jan. 2 article ("Drinking incident is last straw ...") elaborated how the underage drinking of a few students forced the end of the DECA program at Apple Valley High School.

DECA, a highly reputable international organization, prepares students for a future in business, with sponsors from well-known local and national companies. Participating students plan, lead and execute charity events that give back to the community. Through the competition aspect at the local, state and international levels, they gain hands-on knowledge in entrepreneurship, marketing, finance and management.

As a senior at Chaska High School, I have been involved in DECA for three years. I plan on pursuing a career in business as a result of my experience.

I am disappointed that the Star Tribune portrayed DECA students as exhibiting behavior "suitable to 'Animal House'" and not as the hardworking, passionate and responsible students that the majority of them are. I hope that Apple Valley will reconsider its decision and enable students to continue the DECA program.


* * *


Keep 'em rightly sized for their surroundings


As I drive through my neighborhood (Armatage, in Minneapolis) and nearby neighborhoods, I struggle to understand why people are tearing down small, older homes and building huge homes on little lots. I just can't understand it. And the poor folks who live next door -- well, they must think a big giant is lording over them. Makes no sense to me.