To the editor:
KU Chancellor Doug Girod’s exhortations to “Raise The Chant” to raise the money, primarily for the football program (Journal-World Sept. 23), reflect sadly misplaced priorities. Surely the “best and the brightest students” pay more attention to academic rankings than to football polls. Money for scholarships is also critical, as pointed out in Paul Peters’ letter to the editor. As to “… being in a major conference is tied to … being a strong member of the Association of American Universities,” there is no mention of athletics in AAU Membership Policy. Of course the issue of alumni donations was raised. Many conflicting studies exist on correlations between alumni giving and win/loss records (although none on the quality of locker rooms and coaches’ offices). One perspective is that wins indeed beget dollars — for the athletic programs, as exemplified by the millions KU sports facilities receive from David Booth and the Horejsi family. That last $50 million alone would pay the annual salaries of 500 full professors or 2,500 graduate student assistants.
What about value received? For $350 million (none of it state funds) the Central District demolished 28 tired buildings and will have a new integrated science building, parking garage, residence hall, dining center, student union, student apartments and central utility plant. Demolition of one relatively new building for a larger replacement and remodeling a venerable, habitually unfilled stadium for $350 million? Maybe we should preserve the iconic view of Campanile Hill, spare our athletes CTE, and focus on what we do well: volleyball, basketball and academics.