As a Hamline Law School grad, class of ’93, I read Lee Schafer’s column on the Hamline/William Mitchell law school merger with great interest (“Merging schools was smarter than closing,” March 1). Those of us with degrees from both institutions will benefit from the transparency of reporting on the process of the merger.

Schafer does graduates of neither institution any favors, however, when he implies that the only worthy goal of law school is to attain a “big firm” job. Mitchell|Hamline School of Law, mired in the third tier of national law school rankings, couldn’t possibly have anything of value to offer the students who are seeking something more from legal education than “straightforward vocational training.”

Both schools have produced scores of excellent lawyers and judges. But both schools have also produced successful business leaders, investment bankers, entrepreneurs, faculty members, nonprofit managers and civic leaders. In a world where streamlined graduate degrees in all fields are commonplace, a law degree from an ABA-accredited institution still provides a distinctly valuable credential in the marketplace.

Should students consider the investment with great care? Absolutely. But when Schafer denigrates the existence of law schools below the top tier, he does a great disservice to those law students and graduates who chose those schools and whose rich and varied backgrounds, ambitions, talents and career paths will and do provide a significant contribution to both the legal profession and the greater community.

Rand Park, St. Paul


It may feel right, yet not make sense

Giving people on welfare a raise — really? A ridiculous statement on its face, but it also speaks to an even bigger obstacle.

I have been on assistance. To suggest that we simply need to give people more money with fewer restrictions and protocols baffles me (“Could there be a raise even more overdue? Why, yes,” Lori Sturdevant column, March 1). All too often, a liberal’s way of dealing with a problem is about “feelings.” After I had a conversation with a woman at the State Fair pushing for a higher minimum wage, trying to get an intellectual answer as to how that would work, she finally admitted that it’s “a heart thing” for her. Well, a “ heart thing” is not an answer that works when it comes to fixing a problem that deals with people, money and sustainability.

Welfare reform is needed. Just as you are climbing out of the hole, they take away help, so there’s a greater chance of landing back in the hole. I ran into that. My daughter, in trying to find an affordable apartment, ran into Section 8 housing being closed off to her because she wasn’t someone who decided to have a baby before she could afford it.

People need good jobs, affordable housing and opportunity. Trying to sell them on more welfare simply to make you feel better doesn’t sound like the right kind of heart thing to me.

Lisa Welton, Maple Grove

• • •

After reading Sturdevant’s column, I googled “what state gives the best welfare benefits.” A Dec. 7, 2011, article ( said Minnesota’s benefits were second only to New York’s. A article from August 2013 ranked welfare benefits packages as a percentage of the federal poverty level. Minnesota was 13th from the top at an average $31,603 annual benefit ­— 162 percent of that level. It is one of the 35 states whose welfare benefits packages pay more than a minimum-wage job would.

Sturdevant’s article was skewed. Granted, it was only about cash payments, but they seldom come alone. Enrollees may also be entitled to a number of more than 100 other benefits — rent and fuel subsidies, Medicaid, child care vouchers, etc.

I believe that any modern society should have compassion on those who are unable to provide for their families. I also believe that work should always be more attractive and beneficial financially than collecting public benefits.

RUTH SANDIN, Aitkin, Minn.



Somalis simply shouldn’t be upset

Well, cry me a river — Somali-Americans are angry about airport profiling (Twin Cities+Region, March 1). It’s not Norwegian grandmothers who are leaving this great country to slaughter innocent victims and fight against us! If it were, I would be the first in line for profiling.

They should be applauding efforts by the Transportation Security Administration and any other agency that is trying to keep us all safe, including them. Are they so unaware of those in their community who are leaving a country that afforded them every opportunity only to join forces with radical Islam to take part in abhorrent killings?

Their anger should be directed at those who are leaving to commit acts of atrocities against us all, not at people trying to do their job.

Connie Sambor, Plymouth

• • •

I am upset that after years of progress as a nation, it seems that we are not only starting to walk backward, but sprint backward. When will America learn that harassing and degrading people based on their race is what divides our nation? I greatly respect Mohamed Farah for his bravery and tolerance of the ignorance of people, and I believe we need more individuals like him to say “enough is enough.”

Micayla Batchlor, Eden Prairie

• • •

Keep doing your jobs, TSA agents. Let’s not allow liberal politicians and/or political correctness to hinder these agents from keeping our airports and airplanes safe for all travelers.

Bob Maginnis, Edina



The problem with unanswered questions

Sometimes an argument can be right about specifics but wrong about the bigger picture. That’s how I see Megan McArdle’s March 1 column (“No point in pinning Walker down on evolution”).

I agree with McArdle that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s opinion on evolution doesn’t mean much about his fitness as a presidential candidate. But it should mean a lot to voters that he won’t state his opinion on that issue. Why? Because it demonstrates that he’d rather leave voters guessing than run the risk of alienating, in this case, the Republican voter base, many of whom don’t believe in the scientifically solid theory of evolution.

This reminds me of a 2011 Lori Sturdevant column about former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Sturdevant pointed out Pawlenty’s numerous flip-flops on big issues such as health care, taxes, the environment, education, public safety and human rights — flip-flops based not on changes of principle, but on self-serving political ambition.

My question then for Pawlenty and now for Walker is this: What else are you keeping from us because you’re afraid of what we might think if you tell us what you really believe?

Steven Schild, Winona, Minn.