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Letter: Story on SDSU, diversity was not balanced reporting

Please contact President Dunn and allow a response to be printed (in fairness front page would be nice) to answer some of these accusations from Christopher Vondracek.

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(Metro Creative)

To the Editor:

I just finished the front page article by Christopher Vondracek in the Dec. 4-5 issue of Mitchell Republic titled “ Some staff leave after ‘diversity’ centers drop.”

The article aims to discredit the renaming of “diversity centers" at South Dakota colleges as “opportunity centers” par executive order from Gov. Noem.

Journalism is supposed to be informative and reporting on the topic of diversity is interesting and informative. However, the slant on reporting on our largest university, SDSU, is primarily from a former American Indian Student Adviser whose quote is “Dude, this is how we create spaces that are welcoming to students who aren’t white.” When no mention or quote is solicited from SDSU President Barry Dunn, who is an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, then the article appears to be biased and lacking fair representation from officials who are working to improve diversity at a very fine institution.

Very few statistics are included in the article other than “veterans remained in school between their freshman and sophomore years at a rate of 59 percent to 90 percent between 2012 and 2017, according to the BOR. During that same time frame, however, the retention rate for Native students ranged from 25 percent to 68 percent.” Are they comparing veterans who have served our country and are typically older and more mature in life decisions to new high school graduates? That seems a very obscure statistic to base any conclusion on.

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Please contact President Dunn and allow a response to be printed (in fairness front page would be nice) to answer some of these accusations from Christopher Vondracek. He may have the very same concerns, but he would be a much more credible source.

Thank you for producing a newspaper for our town and the wonderful job the Mitchell Republic has done with the E-paper. I just ask for more balanced reporting with better documentation especially when concerning a very fine institution like South Dakota State University.

Brian Temple

Mitchell

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