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Gary Jones, East Grand Forks, Minn., Published December 30 2013

Letter: Don’t target MSUM athletics programs

I am a parent of a graduated and current Minnesota State University Moorhead student. In addition, I have hired a number of MSUM graduates, and they have been nothing short of excellent. MSUM has a number of excellent professors and faculty.

In saying that, I am always amazed at some who think that being employed at a college is a guarantee for lifelong employment. Enrollment at MSUM has dropped, and it makes perfect sense to look at programs that are draining resources from other programs. If you have fewer students you need fewer faculty.

These same individuals seem to always throw a red herring into the equation by going after athletics. Athletics for many colleges ends up being a draw for students. Athletics builds a social fabric that links current students to past alumni (who donate money to the college for various programs). Many of your athletes are the top students.

Athletics make up a very small percentage of MSUM’s budget. Maybe if those programs being reduced had spent time developing classes that attracted students, this discussion would not be occurring.

I applaud the courage of President Edna Mora Szymanski for dealing with the issue. She is a visionary and understands for the college to survive it needs to be fiscally responsible. It is much better to treat and stop the bleeding before there is no blood left. Cutting athletics is not the solution and will just hasten the demise. We need to work together and do a better job of telling potential students the virtues of MSUM, which are many. MSUM as a college, unfortunately, is one of the Midwest’s best-kept secrets.