EASTERN'S ATHLETIC DILEMMA
The EWU faculty senate's report about the costs of EWU athletics (first reported on Inlander.com on Feb. 13) has spun up a lot of online dust in the past few days, and that's good, because finally the conversation can begin.
First, this document's data on athletics funding costs and sources was provided by the EWU administration, and the report does not suggest that Eastern end our football program. Instead, it presents seven cost-saving alternatives, among them, program elimination and switching to NAIA or lower NCAA divisions.
Second, the persistent deficits in athletics funding have been filled with the accounting magic of cuts to student services and academic departments. So, money to maintain our NCAA Division I status is money not invested in students' education. Plus, let's remember the direct cost to students: They further fund the athletics programs through involuntary fees and tuition support. Meanwhile, only 5-6 percent of our students typically attend games.
Anyone who thinks we shouldn't be even raising these questions about the cost of EWU athletics should talk to our students, their parents and Washington taxpayers.
Of course, who doesn't love the smell of the air on game day, the thrill of a struggling player bursting through in the final seconds? But I set those pleasures against the struggles of all the other students desperate to remain in school, doubting that they can get the resources to succeed and graduate.
Let's not herniate our consciences by ignoring the facts of this report or claiming that they don't matter.
Professor of English, EWU
Readers respond to an Inlander article about hiring 18-year-olds to work as correctional officers at the county jail ("Teenage Jailors," 2/13/20):
Heather Wallace: This is insane! 18-year-olds are still developing in crucial areas of critical thinking and judgment. Not to mention the potential trauma of this work environment.
Matt Duelge: I was hired by Wisconsin DOC as a prison guard at 19 (I turned 20 in prison) and being the "low guy on the totem pole" as far as job assignments and the union was concerned, was segregation officer. I had to fight... every. Single. Day. For eight months, to meet my probation period. I left on my eighth month. While Wisconsin DOC training academy is among the best in the nation, I still felt horribly unprepared for work in prisons.
Christopher J Miller: The managers and citizens of Spokane have proven themselves to be incompetent and ignorant and here is more proof, an 18-year-old is nowhere near mature enough to secure hardened criminals twice their age, the boys will get eaten alive by the convicts.
Tina Tyler: One would think the smartest way to get more interested applicants isn't to lower requirements but to raise benefits offered.
Sarah Christine: 18-year-old correctional officers? I'd like a drug test for the folks who think this is a good idea. ♦