Past time for a change at SOU

Past time for a change at SOU

I applaud student Shannon Davis' guest opinion column, "SOU retrenchment plan threatens the university," and the recent SOU faculty vote of "no confidence" in their administration. I have waited patiently since 2010 — when my daughter, Eliza Schaaf, was summarily removed from the SOU ceramics class she was auditing — for others to see and act on the less-than-stellar leadership and community-be-damned attitude we have witnessed under this administrative regime.

After a documentary, many tears, and a country-wide public speaking spree in 2011-2012, to share with her college peers why she wanted to go to college, Eliza went on from her SOU rejection to attend college in Washington state at Highline Community College. No one there minded that she has Down syndrome. She was there to learn, and now is employed and lives independently in Ashland.

My favorite SOU quote and one partially responsible for Eliza wanting to go to SOU in the first place is, "Southern Oregon University is an inclusive campus community dedicated to student success, intellectual growth, and responsible global citizenship." Well, I'll cast my vote with Shannon. The words aren't matching the actions.

Perhaps it's time to let the SOU students, faculty and even the Ashland community, where SOU resides, select their own university leaders — ones who are interested in building community, value diversity and recognize there is more to running a university than JPR power plays, retrenchment and kicking out people.

Deb Evans


Vote to ban GMOs in Jackson County

Syngenta rents scattered small fields to plant genetically engineered crops in our valley. As demonstrated in the Midwest, Syngenta, like other international chemical companies creating these crops, will eventually sue neighboring farmers for patent infringement, when their crops cross-pollinate with non-genetically-engineered crops.

The crops are engineered for two traits: to not die when sprayed by the companies' herbicides, or to explode the stomachs of insects. Weeds also get resistant to the herbicides quickly through cross-pollination, causing a great increase in spraying.

Before genetically engineered crops, poisons were sprayed only before seeds emerged. Now the genetically engineered crops absorb the poisons throughout the crop. More pollinators such as bees and birds die. More soil micro-organisms and worms die, making the soil less fertile and absorbent, encouraging floods and droughts.

Livestock health deteriorates when fed these crops. The American Pediatric Association warns that pesticides and herbicides are bad for children.

Sixty countries have banned genetically-engineered organisms, including third-world countries. Protect our biggest valley employer, our food and seed economy. Vote yes in May for 15-119.

Margery Winter


Why not cut SOU athletics instead?

So, SOU is going broke, chopping majors, chopping teachers, chopping classes, but spending $20 million-plus on athletics. What's wrong with this picture?

Peter Nemzek


Forty-five minutes of joy at the YMCA

Anyone who knows me will tell you I experience miracles in my life more often than the average person. But this one I'm going to share with you is one of the most special.

About six years ago, I was lucky enough to have a health insurance policy that paid for a gym membership. I checked out a couple here in Ashland, and they just didn't quite fit my prerequisite, which was, if it's not fun I won't do it.

I ended my search for the right gym by finding the YMCA. They offered a senior class that included using several machines to help us build strength. My first class, I was drawn to the sound of rock and roll. The class was being taught by a beautiful angel named Lori. She was full of energy, smiles, encouragement, and most of all acceptance of who each one of us were. That was a very diverse, energetic group of seniors, who enjoyed working out hard, but with laughter, singing and dancing at every class. The most precious healing element you can give an older person. I must admit I and my male counterpart Colin are big instigators. And thank God, we were never asked to take it down a notch. Although I'm sure we've reached a noise level that's pushing the limit at the Y.

Every day in my prayer work (affirmative prayer) I asked for the opportunity to sing and have new friends. I never thought my singing career would be our class, but I'm fulfilled as a singer in my happy place, the YMCA and have a family of new friends!

Leslee Freeman


Bates responsible for Cover Oregon

We should not be rewarding Alan Bates with another term of office but should hold him responsible as the primary proponent of the mess that is Cover Oregon. According to The Oregonian, the following has occurred: Family members have been assigned to different providers. People are mysteriously disappearing from provider membership rolls. Case workers are denied access to correct errors that clients are reporting. The IT system does not properly calculate the codes that determine federal matching funds. Four thousand illegal immigrants were given full Oregon Health Plan coverage in violation of federal law. No wonder the GAO is auditing us.

Don't let Alan Bates shift the blame to the bureaucrats — they are just implementing the mess he designed and tells us is so wonderful. He should be voted out of office in November — sooner if he has a primary opponent.

Don Paul