Good thing I was sitting down when I read about the University of Minnesota libraries’ “relaxation spaces” (“Relax — it’s finals time at the U,” Dec. 18). Reeeaaaallly, areas on a university campus where studying is forbidden? Lego play tables, librarians doing reiki sessions, a roaming choir? Indeed.

I’m hard-pressed to comprehend how I ever got out of college without these perks. I ate stale sandwiches, drank the world’s worst coffee, worked three-quarters time, carried a full courseload and graduated summa cum laude. My wife was an immense help, demanding hard work and excellence. And she left me to my own devices as to how to manage my stress. I walked a lot and played a lot of pool.

While I applaud the U’s librarians for their creativity in addressing stress, this does seem a bit much in a paternalistic, New Age sort of way. What next? Areas on campus where students are protected from being confronted with ideas they find objectionable? Oh, wait …

Charles Krumrie, Minneapolis

MINNEAPOLIS SCHOOLS

Superintendent situation is another demerit for the district

The recent issues surrounding the Minneapolis Public Schools’ superintendent search could easily have been avoided (“For Paez, contract talks on hold,” Dec. 16). Once again, an elected body, responsible for governance, has failed its obligation to the public. Had members of the school board spent more time working their own contacts and asking the right questions, a better understanding would have been obtained of both the chosen candidate and his background. Apparently, they chose to sit back and rely on someone else to do their vetting.

Now the unintended consequences will be forthcoming, negatively impacting the school board, the school district and the candidate. Another sad commentary on big-city public education.

Chuck Walter, Bloomington

The writer is a former school board chairman.

• • •

I am writing to publicly offer my services as a search consultant for the Minneapolis Public Schools. Due to my expertise with search engines, a search for “Sergio Paez” and “Holyoke” returned three front-page results discussing the Holyoke School District being placed in state receivership and Paez’s overall “in need of improvement” rating at his first performance review. These results alone certainly merit further research, before even reaching the issue of alleged student abuse.

I’d hazard to guess that my fee would be substantially less than what the district has already paid. School board members, feel free to contact me.

Kim Hunter, St. Paul

 

MNsure

It’s not yet glitch-free, though it’s moving in that direction

The Star Tribune editorial “Set firm deadlines for MNsure buyers” (Dec. 16) claimed that deadline extensions this year were not due to website glitches, and the Editorial Board called for ending the extensions. I have enrolled for health insurance via MNsure since the start of the state’s online marketplace three years ago. The first year, after applying immediately when enrollment opened, I was not able to secure insurance until February due to website and process glitches, even though I worked diligently to resolve them. Last year, again applying immediately when enrollment opened, I was able to secure insurance by the very end of December and was eligible for insurance in January. The enrollment extensions gave me time to resolve the website and process glitches that prevented me from securing insurance.

This year, for the first time, it took only four days to enroll in insurance through MNsure, but that does not mean the website and process glitches are resolved for all who apply. MNsure administrators should know if people are still having issues with enrollment and should offer extensions as needed to allow all who apply access to insurance, which is so vital to their health and financial well-being. At the same time, administrators should continue their efforts to resolve all glitches in the process.

Tom Ebacher, Kensington, Minn.

 

MnSCU SHUFFLE

From the cheap seats, it seems like cronyism is in play

Rochester Community and Technical College President Leslie McClellon announced her resignation this week after faculty members, students and others had expressed frustration with her negativity, lack of communication and excessive unnecessary spending (“College leader is resigning her post,” Dec. 18).

So what does Steven Rosenstone, the chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, do? He appoints McClellan as the senior development director for the entire MnSCU system.

If she could not be successful at Rochester, why is she given oversight over an entire system? This is typical of the corrupt liberal education elitists who display entitlement and lack of professionalism. This is cronyism extraordinaire and it should be investigated.

Bruce Atkinson, Rochester

 

GENERAL MILLS

Does company really understand that preferences are changing?

General Mills’ second-quarter performance fell short (“General Mills’ sales take a hit,” Dec. 18), and executives scratch their heads. Even the yogurt business was down, and snacks, as well. Perhaps they should try reducing levels of sugar and salt in their product lines.

Some Americans are indeed getting more health-conscious, given the increased incidence of heart disease and diabetes and the increasing cost of health care. A walk down the grocery aisle in most stores offers only high-sugar and/or high-sodium options, across virtually all product lines.

Lax promotion is just a lame excuse for poor performance, and new packaging won’t resolve the problem, either. I have walked out of stores in frustration, without any purchases, on more than one occasion. But then that’s just me (but I doubt it).

Mike Hohmann, Minneapolis

 

PRESIDENT OBAMA

The gift that keeps on giving

Of his 95 year-end pardons and commutations, President Obama announced that he has commuted the sentences of 24 felons convicted of selling crack cocaine. In his news conference, he said he determined that these people deserved “a second chance.” A second chance to sell more crack cocaine?

Michael Bates, Ham Lake

 

TED CRUZ

And he was born where?

I don’t understand the hullabaloo over Ted Cruz. He caused the shutdown of the government and is against any progress made in the past years. Help is on the way (what does that mean?), we have more jobs than qualified people, we have money in the bank, we’re doing great! What I’d really like to know is how a Canadian can run for president?

Francis Taranto, Minneapolis

 

AMERICA IS GREAT

The clincher for me …

I am a volunteer driver for Anoka County. Through this, I met a disabled/retired Navy vet. I mentioned that he had no one to buy Christmas gifts for, so today, I took him to the store, and he bought 15 gifts for boys and girls ages 11 to 14. You know, Navy men think Marines are a bunch of leathernecks; however, these gifts went into Toys for Tots, an old Marine charity. This is why we as a nation are great.

Sande Whalen, Minneapolis