Sunday, April 25, 2010

Supersized salary slam-dunk

Universities have put a lot of emphasis on the money-making potential of athletic programs, and for good reason --- they can be profitable. But to make that money, universities have to spend money. That reality was brought home in the Cedar Valley March 24 when a raise was announced for University of Northern Iowa men's basketball Coach Ben Jacobson as his team left for St. Louis. The Panthers had just defeated No. 1-seeded University of Kansas in the NCAA tournament and were preparing to play against Michigan State in the "Sweet 16," where they were handed a heartbreaking defeat. Jacobson's salary was bumped from $289,000 to $450,000 per year, his contract extended for the next decade with $25,000 annual raises. The increase is all funded by private donations. In the meantime, UNI's professors recently received pay cuts due to reduced state funding in an economic downturn. It didn't take long for university faculty to highlight this and note its corresponding effect on morale. For more about the situation, follow these links:

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Big Dummy

It's disingenuous for Gov. Chet Culver to say Democrats stood firm on civil rights by not allowing debate on gay marriage and then assert a belief that marriage should only be between one man and one woman. Culver has avoided a lot of distasteful things, though: speaking against any faction (pro-gay marriage or anti-gay marriage), challenging the court's gay marriage decision, adding discriminatory amendments to the constitution that he claims to personally believe in, and pursuing a more nuanced policy that would protect the civil rights of homosexuals (including acknowledgement of monogamous gay relationships) without giving short-shrift to his (and many other people's) belief about marriage. That last one, if done the right way, would deprive Republicans of an important wedge issue. Those who opposed equal rights for homosexuals after the marriage issue had been stripped away would be shown as driven by hate and prejudice. To read the story containing Culver's comments in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier follow this link: