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Letter: The NorthStar does not reflect the views of the university

Readers of the Morris Sun Tribune have recently received as advertising inserts copies of a publication, The NorthStar, produced by a few University of Minnesota, Morris students. This is student speech, which does not reflect the views or perspectives of the university. Student publications, including The NorthStar, are funded by student activity fees as well as advertising dollars. They receive neither state allocations nor tuition dollars.

The paper is included in the Sun Tribune through an arrangement negotiated directly between the student organization and the publishers of the Sun Tribune, who apparently have agreed to permit its inclusion in the Saturday paper.

I am aware that the most recent issue of The NorthStar, which was in in the Nov. 23 edition of the Sun Tribune, included pictures that many in the community have found to be offensive, and I regret that.         

In addition, a number of campus and community members have expressed concern about articles in the recent papers that direct allegations of racism and fascism at several UMM faculty and staff members. These allegations have been made against highly respected and valued members of the campus community, and they are without substance.

In the seven years that I have served as Chancellor of the University of Minnesota, Morris, I have come to appreciate the respectful and inclusive environment that is part of our campus culture. Like all of us, the students who produce The NorthStar are entitled to the protections of the First Amendment. Nevertheless, I am saddened by what can easily be read as an undeserved and hateful attack on trusted and valued members of our campus community.

I hope if you have questions about these articles or their intent that you will address them directly to The NorthStar’s publisher, John Geiger. His contact information is included on the inside page of the paper. Questions about the decision to include the publication in the Morris Sun Tribune should be directed to the paper’s publisher, Sue Dieter.