The Sunflower

Letter to the Editor — Denice Bradbury

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Dear WSU leadership,

Your marketing target analysis is correct – I’m now in a position in my life to give you a chunk of money.

But I won’t be doing that. It’s going to worthy causes instead.

For the past year or so, you’ve been on a campaign to undermine, denigrate and lobotomize the very discipline that has given me my successful career. You know – the one that put me into an income bracket that seems to have recently attracted your attention.

I’m an alumna of the Elliott School of Communication. Home of the student newspaper, The Sunflower. The same Sunflower that has called some of your leadership decisions into account in the past year.

The free “self-directed” courses that you’ve been using to pad your enrollment numbers. The questionable business decisions that have been made surrounding the Innovation Campus. The overall opacity that is your default operating mode for decisions that should be held in full view of the public.

But you showed those young journalists. You cut their budget. Drastically. Hey – if they won’t play along and stick to writing the company line – then drive them out of business.

Of course, the very purpose of journalism is to hold leaders to account. Now more than ever, you’d think leaders in higher education would be celebrating that pillar of democracy instead of smothering it. You’d especially think a former publisher of The Wichita Eagle would be their champion.

This is the same Sunflower, ironically, where Oliver Elliott worked as a student journalist. His experience there inspired him to donate the funds to launch the Elliott School of Communication. Might be time for his heirs to demand a refund.

But, there’s more. WSU President Bardo recently denigrated liberal arts education in general, celebrating WSU’s vocational school bona fides by claiming that WSU was founded, “To serve the working people of Wichita, not to serve the intellectual elite.”

So there. It’s about welding, not Aristotle, you snooty-tooties.

Since I’m one of those Aristotle-huggers, I happen to know that he would call this argument fallacious – a false dilemma. For those outside the “intellectual elite” that simply means that the two are not mutually exclusive as inferred in this statement. You can have a job AND be interested in worthless stuff like literature, the arts and history. And … fallacies, so you can call them out when they’re used.

The world is full of disappointments these days. I’m sorry I have to add you to the list, WSU.

So … don’t call me for money. I think my profession is better honored, and my values better reflected through my giving to various news organizations.

I can’t help it. I’m the intellectually elite person you helped to create.

— Denice Bradbury, Director of Marketing and Communications at National Psoriasis Foundation

 

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