Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Faculty union forgets forgotten man 

The faculty union on our campus voted to send a letter to the City of St. Cloud that asks for it to re-staff a Human Rights Office. A letter to Mayor Dave Kleis was sent:
Many of us (including me) are City residents. All of us have a stake in building a just and welcoming community for ourselves, our students and our neighbors.

At its September 8, 2009 meeting, the Faculty Senate passed the attached resolution regarding the preservation of a Human Rights Office in the City of St. Cloud. On behalf of our members I ask you to find a way to restore staffing to the Human Rights Office.
Now the last time I looked, over 20% of our faculty drive from a seven-county metro area to us. The basic reason given for support is to join other groups on campus, and because "all of us spend significant time here and we and our students are deeply affected by the human rights climate of the city."

We have a state human rights department. One can argue that we need more local enforcement, but let's look at the city's department. Its last meeting minutes from March 2007 (yes, 2007) included a concern over how many minority children are in youth soccer (a private organization) and whether to try to put "local dolls" into schoolchildren's hands.

The Human Rights Office was budgeted $98,100 for FY 2007. Question to my union: Where would you find this money? What expenditures would you cut to free up that amount? If you say you would tax it, who would you choose to make to pay for YOUR choice? Is part of being a good neighbor asking your neighbor to pay for your preferences?

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