Friday, December 06, 2002

A reply to the StarTribune

Political science Professor Kathy Uradnik posted this letter to our internal discussion list last night. Reprinted with permission.

To the Editor of the Star Tribune:

I would like to invite the author of �Editorial/St. Cloud: Banishing a University�s Bias� (12/5/02) to spend a day (or longer) at St. Cloud State University as my guest. In fact, I extend this invitation to the entire editorial board, and particularly the editor-in-chief, who had to review and approve publication of the hatchet job that this editorial represents.

The administration, faculty, and staff of SCSU, led by the principled leadership of President Roy Saigo, have taken significant measures in the past several months to combat the allegations of discrimination lodged against the University. These measures have included settling pending lawsuits. It should come as no surprise to the Star Tribune�or to anyone�that allegations in plaintiffs� discrimination complaint against SCSU painted a �grim picture.� That�s what complaints are supposed to do. But allegations in a legal complaint should not be assumed true, particularly by a newspaper; rather, they should be investigated.

An investigation of SCSU will indeed reveal that it is not perfect; disgruntled faculty members and discrimination can still be found on our campus. But the Star Tribune�s charge that a �supremacist fever� exists at St. Cloud State is simply wrong. More significantly, it is a thoughtless and irresponsible insult to the highly committed and extremely capable men and women who are striving to make SCSU a better place. I, along with and hundreds of other faculty, staff, and administrators, have worked diligently to ensure that the University corrects its past mistakes and becomes a welcoming place for all. This good work was in progress well before the lawsuit and settlement and will continue despite the Star Tribune�s ill-considered editorial, which focuses only on the bad, and then distorts it.

The work of making our university�or any university�a better place is never finished. But let me assure all who read this editorial response that the �stench of bias� alleged by the Star Tribune to exist at the University is lifting, replaced by the fresh, charged air that surrounds faculty eager to teach and students excited to learn. We have outstanding students at SCSU who make tremendous sacrifices to attain their degrees; ultimately they may be hurt the worst by the Star Tribune�s unfair characterization of the University. I cannot undo the damage that has been caused to my institution�s reputation by the Star Tribune�s editorial. But I can help to see that such an editorial never appears in the paper again. To that end, I reiterate my offer to the editorial board to visit SCSU and see what our University is really all about. I�m sure that, upon visiting the campus, the editors will find plenty of good things to write about.

Kathy Uradnik
J.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Political Science
St. Cloud State University