Excuse me — those of you proposing a reduction in salary for the new University of Minnesota president should review the salaries you pay some in the football program at the U. The suggestion seems to be that a more reasonable salary for the president would be in the $300,000 to $400,000 range, rather than $625,000, which is the salary of the current president, Eric Kaler (“Can U get new president for a bargain?” Oct. 8). After googling for information, I found that the current university football coach makes $1 million, and the proposed salary for both the offensive and defensive football coordinators was $700,000, from the current $550,000.
The president oversees a student population of about 51,000 and an employee population of 23,000. The president has a significant role in producing the future workers and leaders of our country, whereas the football program provides grooming and training of football players for the major leagues, and free of charge. Go figure.
Jo Brinda, Crystal
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Many years ago, my mother taught me a valuable lesson: “You get what you pay for.” The bargain-basement salary proposed by the University of Minnesota Board of Regents for a new university president deserves a “shame on you.” Our fine university deserves the very best in leadership. To attract the finest candidates, I recommend they offer $1 more than the most highly paid member of the athletic department. Surely, if we can find money to pay coaches, we can find money to reward the leader of the entire university.
Patrick G. Churchill, White Bear Lake
The writer is a retired executive director of the Minnesota Education Association.
JUSTICE BRETT KAVANAUGH
The process our country went through was not a failure
In reflecting on the confirmation process of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, I see that there were some problems. Some of them were partisan actions of both the Republicans and Democrats. However, one part of the process I did appreciate was the partial openness. We got to see some of the questioning of the candidate and accuser and listen to some of the arguments for and against. Through the questions of our U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of the candidate, I saw the possibility that Kavanaugh did not remember what he did while under the influence of alcohol. Through the speech of U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, I heard her diligent study of the issue of his candidacy, of his opinions and judgments throughout his term as judge, and she stated her reasoning and conclusions as to why she thought that he was fit to be on the Supreme Court.
My conclusion after listening, always knowing that I may be in error here, is that Kavanaugh may not have recognized his actions as a youth, but he may have realized in his latter years that his attitude toward women needed an adjustment. As a result, he started mentoring women, trying to be helpful rather than hindering. Perhaps he started enlarging his vision of justice as well rather than narrowing it. Time will tell if my conclusions are right or not.
Meanwhile, I do not view the process we went through as a failure. To me it was a success in seeing both the reasoning and the passion behind both viewpoints so that together we can better govern our country.
Margaret A. Wood, Bloomington
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In the end? Justice prevailed.
Tom Schwebach, Eden Prairie
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I am horrified by U.S. Sen. Susan Collins’ decision to support the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh; In June 2017 I was one of about 1,000 people who attended the annual Women Winning lunch at which Collins was the speaker. Women Winning is a nonpartisan organization that supports the election to public office of prochoice women. Collins received a standing ovation when she promised us she would never support the denial of a woman’s right to choose. I am not sure whether she was deliberately lying to us or whether she is truly naive enough to think that her vote is not the death knell for Roe vs. Wade either by flat-out repeal or, more probably, by narrowing it down bit by bit so that for women who are not affluent enough to travel there is no place to turn for a legal abortion.
My dad was a doctor before Roe, and I well remember the days of the back-alley abortion. Abortion will never end; it will only be driven underground and unsafe for poor, frightened women. Collins may be enjoying the adulation of the president and her anti-women fellow senators who compare her to Margaret Chase Smith. Sen. Smith was brave; she stood for her country over her party, which she knew had gone crazy. Sen. Collins is a coward. I hope she has trouble sleeping at night.
Ellen Sampson, North Oaks
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The Kavanaugh mess is in the hands of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Had he allowed the nomination of Merrick Garland to proceed as was required, the Senate would have been doing its job, building consensus and arriving at decisions. The current rancor would have been less. Right now, Democrats should consider adding a plank to their midterm election platform: that if and when they become the majority in the Senate, they will restore the concept of 60 percent of the vote for any nomination. Of course, the Democrats are the ones who abolished the 60 percent rule, but they did it because of McConnell’s unwillingness to be a minority leader who could walk across the aisle and negotiate. McConnell has a great deal to answer for. The U.S. needs senators who understand and practice the art of negotiation and consensus-building. Shame on McConnell for violating that sacred trust we citizens gave him.
Marianne Wargelin, Minneapolis
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Following the tense confirmation process of now-Justice Kavanaugh, I cannot help but agree with President Donald Trump. As a 17-year-old male, I can confirm that it’s “a very scary time for young men in America.” I am terrified for any young people who might take Kavanaugh’s confirmation as a justification of the idea that what they do today will not affect their future. Furthermore, if accusations of sexual misconduct can be repeatedly overlooked at the highest levels of government, what message does this send to young men? Few will make choices based on these events, but even one is too many.
Not only am I scared, but I am also ashamed that our elected representatives consciously choose party over integrity. At a time when it is critical that young men have strong role models, how do we explain the admission of a man accused of sexual assault to this country’s highest court? I look at the fractured state of the United States with dismay; hate and fear have paralyzed common sense and the common good. To my fellow young men: Think before you act. To any who might be scared and/or angry: Retain hope and go vote. As Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see.” Let’s make it clear that there is zero room for sexual assault in the halls of high school or of power.
Andrew Tisell, St. Paul
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When Trump whips his adoring fans into a frenzy by fretting that “it’s a scary time for young men in America,” he doesn’t care that it’s always scary to be a woman, young or old. In fact, when asked if he had a message for young women, he replied, “Women are doing great.” Of course, why would he care? He himself is a serial abuser. At least 15 women have accused him of actions ranging from sexual harassment and sexual assault to lewd behavior. But what I really don’t understand is how women can continue to support him. Are they not bright enough to figure out that it’s much more likely they will be attacked than that a man they care about will be falsely accused? I guess ignorance is bliss, and we certainly have an abundance of ignorance these days.
Laurie Franklin, Richfield
JOHN GAGLIARDI, 1926-2018
Remembering a true role model
What a heartwarming tribute to John Gagliardi! (Oct. 8.) And how needed right now — to remember someone who spent his career lifting up his players, having them pull together for goals beyond themselves. We so desperately need a leader who will not mock and belittle others but show by example what dignity, civility and kindness look like.
Pamela Kearney, Edina