Category Archives: leadership

One Texas university won’t give up on sports

An excerpt from the Chronicle of Higher Education’s website:

The University of Texas at El Paso is urging students and faculty members to avoid coming to the campus “wherever possible,” closing the student center and campus dining for two weeks. Professors should conduct only critical aspects of classes in person, according to a Thursday letter to the campus. The changes come as Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations in El Paso have climbed steadily this month.

One big exception? Athletics. “UTEP athletic teams competing in their championship season will continue to practice and compete under the NCAA and Conference USA stringent testing protocols,” Heather Wilson, the university’s president, wrote.

A football game against the University of North Texas has been canceled, despite Wilson’s advocacy to keep the game scheduled. She said in a statement this week that the university had a “safe place to play” and was “disappointed” in North Texas’s decision. 

What is not clear to me is whether these “stringent testing protocols” can be made available to the entire campus — not just at UTEP but throughout the country — and are not being done (too costly?), or if there’s some special arrangement between the NCAA and its partner institutions in which it pays for these tests.

Does anyone know?

Where Trump blew it

In two weeks, Americans should make clear they want Joe Biden to be the next president of the United States. Of course, polling numbers can change, and we certainly know they can be wrong, but the lead that Biden has over Donald Trump continues.

If Biden wins, he’ll have pulled off a surprise: Incumbent presidents aren’t supposed to lose when Americans believe the economy is moving in the right direction. In 2020 they’re indicating they believe it is and voters also say Trump would be better than Biden at handling economic issues.

Despite that optimism, you can find plenty of voters who say they’re doing well financially, but they’re not interested in returning Trump to the White House. The Boston Globe reported one such story this week.

So, where did it go wrong for Trump? The reasons are obvious: his awful handling of the coronavirus pandemic; numerous suggestions he’s at best prejudiced and at worst racist; neutering America’s image around the world; picking losing battles with China on tariffs, and the list can go on from there.

An argument for a second Trump term is a difficult one to make, and such a case is built around a flimsy idea that Democrats are eager to create a socialist utopia in the United States.

Serious followers of politics know Biden is no socialist. Sure, in comparison to Trump’s agenda, Biden’s policies are progressive. However, whenever one leader takes the country as far off the rails as Trump has done, his successor must immediately steer toward something resembling normal.

That should be Biden’s task beginning on the afternoon of Jan. 20, 2021.

University president dissed Ivanka Trump in June; the bill came due today

Wichita State University is looking for a new president. Jay Golden has resigned after being in that role for less than a year. And, as the Sunflower reports, his departure now might be linked to a decision he made regarding Ivanka Trump.

In early June, donors threatened to pull funding from the university if the Board of Regents didn’t oust Golden after he changed Ivanka Trump’s graduation speech from keynote to optional. Students held a rally in support of Golden  and after a four-hour meeting, KBOR took no public action and Golden remained president.

Regent Jon Rolph told KMUW that Golden’s resignation is not related to the Ivanka Trump controversy. 

“If the board was going to take action on that, it would have been in June,” Rolph told KMUW. 

That’s one interpretation. Another is to say the regents didn’t want to appear vindictive at the time of Golden’s decision, so they waited for the controversy to die down. In addition, if Golden were shown the door this summer, the institution would have had instability at the top as it considered how to deliver classes in the fall term.

Unless the regents learned of something in Golden’s past that required them to act now, there’s every reason to believe Golden’s parachute was prepared in June.