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Panel discusses effect February Sisters had on women’s rights at KU

To Bob Forer;
I well remember and admired your father. But I think you are distorting the sophistication of the KU activist movement in the late 1960s, early 1970s. A reference point. MS magazine, considered the first truly feminist publication, didn't release its first issue until January 1972. The February Sisters event occured in February 1972. A month lag behind the East Coast types is hardly an indication of backwardness. The fact is that Kansas has historically been on the edge of cultural change -- from the abolitionists to the Populists to the Suffragettes to the campus turmoil of the 1960s. Arguably, even today's conservatives who dominate Kansas represent an opposition to the established order, only now that order is secular and leftist. Regardless of the ideological bent, Kansas has historically been on the cutting edge of social change.

February 5, 2012 at 8:41 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Heard on the Hill: Honorary degree recipient — not KU's chancellor — likely to give commencement address; KU officials seek higher enrollment through 'yield'; financial report reveals new data

It's very sad that KU has apparently decided to have an honorary degree recipient deliver a commencement address. One of the great traditions at KU has been that commencement has always focused primarily on the graduates, not as at other schools on someone either with few connections to KU or someone who hasn't been on the campus for decades. This also will lead to eventual controversy. Just wait, sone controversial figure will be awarded a degree which will set off his/her political opponents and all heck will break loose. People will boycott the ceremonies in protest etc. etc. The new grads will be forgotten amid the controversy. For example, suppose Ford was involved in a tough contract battle with its union -- imagine if hundreds of workers showed up on campus to picket Mr. Mulally. The same scenario can be imagined for almost any potential recipient. This whole honorary degree idea is totally misguided. This should be the graduates' day; instead it's become an ego trip to enable the chancellor and other campus officials to hobnob with some big shot. Moreover, most of these recipients have a boatload of similar meaningless awards hanging on their "brag wall." The whole thing demeans KU and marginalizes the hard work the grads have done to genuinely earn their diplomas. Very sad.

February 3, 2012 at 7:08 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

GOP shift?

As a long-time observer of Kansas politics, I must point out the obvious: Kansans elected these conservative Republicans, suggesting that Brownback and his allies are the kind of leaders that the majority of Kansans prefer. Brownback's agenda is no secret. He is a strong social conservative who favors less government, lower taxes etc. Anyone who even casually follows Kansas politics knows that. The complaint seems to be that Kansans are getting what they voted for. Surprise! It's called democracy. The conservatives have played by the rules. They have outworked moderate Republicans and Democrats to win elections. They have presented ideas and candidates that clearly appeal to a large segment of the Kansas electorate. Blame Koch etc. all you want. The truth is that the conservatives have earned the right to govern and they are governing as they promised. If you don't like it, get off your rear ends, organize and win elections for your side.

January 8, 2012 at 6:04 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Group calls for end to 'woo' in Rock Chalk Chant

For many of us the "woo" is a big issue because we care deeply about tradition -- Naismith, Allen, championships. For more than a century the Rock Chalk chant has been an indelible part of that tradition. It 's gratifying to know that my great-grandmother (Class of 1914) and I chanted the Rock Chalk in the same way and for the same purpose -- to cheer on the Jayhawks. That a bunch of self-absorbed, know-nothing, tradition-illiterate people now think it is "fun" to trash a cherished heritage is a sad comment some members of the current generation of fans. Unfortunately, such people care nothing about KU history or tradition, only themselves. Let's hope other students will wake up and realize that such "fans" are denying them something precious -- being part of generations of Jayhawks who respect, honor and want to perpetuate one of the greatest traditions in American collegiate sports.

January 7, 2012 at 1:08 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Heard on the Hill: Opponents mobilize against the "Woo" after the Rock Chalk Chant; KUMC leader's parrot can perform the chant (without the woo); recent grad creates stories for NPR show

The cornerstone of KU basketball is a tradition -- Naismith, Allen, championships etc. -- unmatched by any other school. The Rock Chalk chant is an integral part of that tradition. For the current generation of students to, in effect, trash KU's tradition by adding an idiotic "woo" suggests that they are irresponsible custodians of a heritage that extends more than a century. They are an embarrassment to the thousands of KU alumni and fans who realize that KU is about history, legacy and the bonds that once united Jayhawks across the generations. It would be nice if the current effort to ban the "woo" would be successful. Unfortunately, I fear, too many of today's KU students are so self-absorbed and arrogant -- making "fun" of a cherished tradition -- that they will never understand any of what I'm writing. Sad.

January 5, 2012 at 3:32 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Family, friends remember Dick Wintermote, former KU alumni director

I remember during the tumult of the late 1960s when the Union burned and the Lawrence Journal-World offered a distorted view of what was happening on campus. Mr. Wintermote put out a special edition of the Alumni magazine that was fair and presented the complex situation on campus with insight and understanding. That outraged certain powers-that-were on campus and in Lawrence and around the state. Wintermote told me he tried to present the student side because we would eventually be alumni, so were were part of his "constituency." I think his sensitivity to students helped prevent a difficult situation from becoming much worse. He was always eager to talk to student activists to get our viewpoint. To me, he represents the best of KU. There will never be another like him.

December 19, 2011 at 7:43 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

KU considering how to balance need to grow enrollment, tougher admission standards

According to the CNNMoney website, KU has one of the lowest four-year graduation rates in the Big 12, with around 32 percent receiving their degree in that time period. While some of this is no doubt linked to costs etc., I suspect the primary problem is that KU admits too many dunderheads who have no business attending a major university. Moreover, KU's admission standards are pathetic, far below Mizzou and other Big 12 schools. The pressure to increase enrollment will only lead to a further diminution of academic quality, reducing what was once a prestigious university to little more than a glorified junior college or a University of Phoenix with a great basketball program. My suggestion is that KU raise its standards and let the idiots go to a community college or a DeVry type school. It is a total waste of faculty time and other scarce university resources to try to make something out of high school graduates with ACT scores in the teens and low 20s. To allow these people into KU lowers the academic climate on campus, leading capable students to go elsewhere rather than be surrounded by academic bottom crawlers.

December 19, 2011 at 5:33 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Academic nudge

While this new plan may be fine and good if it truly involves only a "nudge" to capable but distracted students, my concern is that KU is devoting scarce resources to people who have no business attending the quality university that KU asserts it is. Ultimately, this means further dumbing down of the undergraduate degree, a process that already is well along at KU. I understand that "retention" is the latest buzz word in higher education. The problem is that large numbers of high school graduates are simply unprepared for college-level work. Indeed only around 25 percent of students taking the 2011 ACT were judged to have attained the test's benchmarks for college readiness. In its zeal to maintain and grow enrollment -- i.e. faculty and staff jobs, consumers for downtown Lawrence businesses etc. -- KU could eventually become a third-rate university. Kansas has one of the nation's finest community college systems. I suggest that any "nudging" should be in that direction for many underperforming KU students.

December 9, 2011 at 11:27 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Bishop of Kansas finds true calling helping to lead Episcopal Church

I have no doubt that Bishop Wolfe is a kind, caring and decent man. I am a cradle Episcopalian who in recent years has grown increasingly disenchanted with a church I once loved and in which I even considered pursuing a career as a priest. The church has lost its way under the current leadership, which includes Bishop Wolfe. Rather than a faith community centered on the Gospel of Christ, the Episcopal Church has embraced the political and cultural left to such a degree that it is little more than an adjunct to the most liberal elements of the Democratic Party. As a result, the church's membership has declined significantly in recent years and its congregations tend to be quite elderly. Not surprisingly, young families have flocked to more conservative churches that stress traditional biblical values. It's very sad. But the Episcopal Church will never recover its former glory and influence as long as the hard-core "religious left" as represented by Bishops Wolfe and Schori are in charge.

December 4, 2011 at 4:30 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

KU's next move must be bold one

The problem I have with Keegan's column is that he and the LJW sports staff have failed to inform me about the state of the KU football program. When Gill came to KU the cupboard was pretty bare -- not a lot of talent left from the previous regime. Gill decided to build his program with high school recruits. He came in when the recruiting season was mostly wrapped up and was unlikely to get any top-notch players. The only "pure Gill" class is the current freshmen crop. This is a very young team and shows all the expected growing pains. Would anyone judge Bill Self based on the freshman performances of the Morris twins or Jeff Withey etc.? What I want to know -- and what the LJW has failed to provide -- is insight into the direction of the program. Do the players have confidence in his leadership? Do the coaches respect Gill? What kind of potential lies with the young players and does the Gill staff have the ability to develop it? Despite the lopsided scores this fall have seeds of future success been planted? None of those questions have been answered by the LJW sports staff. I have seen no in-depth analysis by a credible, competent reporter examining these issues. That suggests that Keegan and crew are lazy or simply incompetent journalists. The KU football program is not the CIA -- a good reporter should have the inside skinny on Gill's program. Yet, the LJW seems to have no inside sources to give readers a true picture of the football program. Instead all we get from Keegan and Co. are silly, unprofessional rants. Do some real reporting, Keegan.

November 27, 2011 at 9:46 a.m. ( | suggest removal )