Letters

Letters Congrats Coyotes!

To the editor:

Congratulations to the USD Coyote football team for attaining the first-ever undefeated season in the DakotaDome! It has been a fun and exciting year to be a Coyote fan in the stands as we watched the enthusiasm build week after week.

The improvements to the facility have greatly enhanced the total fan experience and I recognize the commitment made by the administration to make this possible, as it helps improve the overall quality of life, both at USD and in the community of Vermillion.

Last Saturday this new technology enabled the senior football players to present their thoughts and feelings to the entire crowd at various points throughout the game. I was very impressed and appreciative to hear so many positive comments from the seniors about their total experience at USD.

Many thanked the community of Vermillion for welcoming them and making them feel at home and a part of our community. This was especially gratifying, as our community definitely recognizes the importance of USD, and we continually strive to do our best to make this a warm and welcoming environment for students and faculty alike.

Together, we can continue to improve on a good situation. Thank you!

Sincerely,

Dan Christopherson

Mayor of Vermillion

Excellent job

To the editor:

I would like to commend and thank all of the volunteers that assisted at the Vermillion polls on election day. The volunteers did an excellent job getting voters in and out of the polls in a short amount of time.

On election day I heard reports of people in other states waiting in line for up to four hours to vote. Such a nuisance deterrent to voting does not exist in our community thanks to our volunteer poll workers.

Brad Barz

Vermillion

No tough questions

To the editor:

On Tuesday, Oct. 19, I attended the "community meeting" hosted by Wal-Mart, and I was disappointed to find none of the people who have enthusiastically opposed Wal-Mart coming to Vermillion in attendance.

Wal-Mart provided us the opportunity to ask John Bisio, Wal-Mart's regional director of community affairs, some of the tough questions that have been on our minds as of late. For example, I asked him how many of the 350 jobs Wal-Mart expects to bring to Vermillion will be managerial or salaried positions.

Bisio's answer was 15. When I asked how many of those 15 jobs would be filled by qualified applicants from Vermillion, Bisio failed to provide a clear answer.

Most of the 350 new jobs, then, will be low-paying "sales associate" positions. According to research conducted by the National Organization for Women, Wal-Mart's 750,000 female "sales associates" are paid on average $6.10 per hour, and the Flagstaff Activist Network found the national average hourly rate for sales associates (men and women) is $7.50.

It's clear that Vermillion area hourly pay rates fall below national averages, and Bisio admitted that pay for Vermillion Wal-Mart employees would be consistent with local working conditions. In short, Wal-Mart will pay low wages to hourly employees who come from the area, and reserve its high-paying managerial positions for transfers from outside the area.

Finally, I asked Bisio what would happen to hourly positions during the summer after the town empties due to the annual mass exodus of USD students. His response was murky at best: he claimed that Wal-Mart executives have enough experience dealing with this kind of fluctuation in sales that they know how to plan for such a situation.

What exactly does that mean? Will Wal-Mart cut jobs every summer when business slows? Or will Wal-Mart intentionally hire USD students so the drop in available labor during the summer months will balance a drop in sales?

In that case, how many of those 350 jobs will be year-round, permanent positions at 28 hours per week at $6-7 per hour?

Most of these questions remain unanswered simply because the "community meeting" was attended primarily by those who welcome Wal-Mart into Vermillion with open arms. In short, Vermillion missed an opportunity to ask tough questions that would promote a critical approach to Wal-Mart's marketing campaign in the local press.

Sincerely,

Christopher Ervin

Vermillion

Let's ask for help

To the editor:

Politicians are not the most informed people in every situation. If our school exchange programs have indeed been worth our generosity, our program sponsors should be our most informed group about foreign students. It is a time for our schools to step forward and give us insight which might be more accurate than opinions of particular religions or political parties.

Surely we can still contact many of our former exchange students and ask for any insight and help they can give us. For years our colleges and universities, and yes even our high schools, have welcomed Iraq's good students to study in the U.S. They were expected to speak English somewhat and became more fluent quickly. They were in positions to observe American beliefs, habits, morals, problems and strengths. Have they been contacted?

It would seem that American faculty sponsors should have a special understanding of Iraqi personalities, morality, and ambitions. Perhaps they've been involved in discussion of our aims and abilities to redo Iraq society?

To assume other races, religions, and politics would of course want to Americanize their society may be naive. Surely we can still contact many of our former exchange students and ask for any insight and help they can give us. I really don't think we'd find them all embedded in the Taliban.

Kathleen Block

Vermillion

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