Gender isn’t the only factor in pay equation

Lee Schafer’s column on the value of an undergraduate degree asserted that maleness is the major factor in a higher lifetime return on investment for degrees from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minn., vs. the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph (“Gender still plays major role in value of a degree,” Aug. 25).

There’s cursory analysis as to why this might be the case. Perhaps female graduates prefer to work in lower-paying occupations or take time out of the workforce for child-rearing. Given that men and women have different, sometimes overlapping and/or complementary aptitudes and interests, why should this be considered surprising or problematic? Why not congratulate St. John’s for doing an excellent job and try to understand the reasons for its success?


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Columnist chose only the most helpful facts

The Richard Topolski study to which Katherine Kersten referred in her column took a much broader approach than portrayed (“Is puppy love turning us into misanthropes?” Aug. 25). Kersten emphasized the one finding that supported her slant over others that were more universal and balanced. An abstract of the study reported that under certain circumstances, a person might save his or her pet over a stranger. Also, the study found that a person would probably save a stranger rather than someone else’s pet.


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Pivotal figure appeared forgotten in news

Coverage of the 50th anniversary of the famous March on Washington was informative, but overlooked the contributions of James L. Farmer Jr. A timeline mentioned the Freedom Rides, but omitted that it was Farmer’s Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) that planned the journeys, and Farmer who coined the term. The 1960 Greensboro sit-in was noted, but omitted that Farmer and CORE staged the first sit-in in Chicago in the 1940s. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was a giant, but he hardly stood alone. While he articulated the dream better than anyone, so many had — and still have — a hand in trying to make it come true.

ROB EPLER, Richfield

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I appreciated your commentary on the march (“From that day to this day,” Aug. 25). I hope you will follow it up with stories of racial issues in Minneapolis as told by W. Harry Davis in his autobiography “Changemaker.” He came to my classroom and was very inspiring. I hope our local community will be reminded of what happened here. My Nokomis Library book group will be reading Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man” this fall. These books are important.

LAUNA ELLISON, Minneapolis

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Kudos to those who endured the heat

My hat is off to anyone who braved the heat and went to the Minnesota State Fair last week. I’m not sure what the official temperature was, but it hit almost 98 degrees on my thermometer. I’ve got to assume in such conditions that the Great Minnesota Get-Together was more like the “Great Minnesota Sweat-Together.”

WILLIS WOYKE, Columbia Heights

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Why Anna Dunn has become a hate target

I’m not at all surprised to hear that people hate actor Anna Dunn because of her portrayal of Skyler in “Breaking Bad” (“Character attack: Being Skyler White,” Aug. 27). First, some people overidentify with television characters as through they were real people. Second, sexism and double standards are still rampant in this country. I’m staring age 50 in the face and don’t see this ending in my lifetime. Strong, independent and intelligent women are despised and vilified. Progress, which includes the changing of attitudes, comes slowly, if at all. It’s sad, but true.

CARLENE DEAN, Osakis, Minn.

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Gunman disarmed by a woman’s empathy

Dahlia Lithwick wonders about politicizing the example Georgia school bookkeeper Antoinette Tuff inadvertently set when she single-handedly protected a school full of vulnerable children and adults as well as the dangerously disturbed man who threatened them (“In Georgia, a lesson in empathy,” Aug. 27).

Armed quietly with calm audacity, nonjudgmental openheartedness and a steel backbone, Tuff pacified a man equipped with a variety of weapons. This woman turned a potential war zone into a shining example of the human spirit at a time when self-serving business and political leaders seek to convince us that safety lies in personal and national ownership of weapons. Tuff, a humble unarmed woman, modeled the simple power of profound love.

SHAWN GILBERT, Bloomington

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Caught red-handed but wouldn’t admit guilt

Javier Sanchez, former aide to U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, got off easy for stealing $200 from her congressional office (“Bachmann aide sentenced to service,” Aug. 27). He admitted no guilt, even though he was caught on camera. In a deal with prosecutors, all he got was 32 hours of community service as his sentence. Really?