Letters, Letters to the Editor, Opinion

Sept. 3 letters to the editor

Fix dangerous traffic pattern on Beechurst

One of the most dangerous intersections in Morgantown is on Beechurst at the bottom of Pleasant Street and the Westover bridge.

People are often not aware of the right curvature of traffic as two lanes move toward Don Knotts Boulevard. I can’t count the times I have barely escaped cars pulling into the side of my car, because they think they can travel straight instead of moving right into their lane as they go through the intersection. While sitting to turn left onto the bridge I have often had cars head directly into me, because they are being forced out of their lane by those not moving to the right through the intersection.

The lines that are meant to alert drivers that the lanes do not stay straight are faded and incomplete. Perhaps repainting the lines and adding reflective, imbedded caps could prevent some of the confusion.

Additional problems occur at this intersection when coming from the direction of Don Knotts. People in the far-right lane do not want to turn up Pleasant Street and often just go straight, forcing those who have the right-of-way to go straight (by bearing right) to abruptly stop to avoid an accident or move left, almost hitting head-on those sitting in the turn lane to turn onto Pleasant.

There should never have been an elimination of two lanes at Pleasant heading toward campus. The awkward squeeze of traffic into the brief one lane creates backups both from Don Knotts and the bridge.

A better and safer pattern would be two lanes heading toward campus, with the far-right lane allowing traffic to either turn up Pleasant or go straight. Heading toward Don Knotts, the far-left lane should be for left turns onto Pleasant, the middle for straight toward Don Knotts and the far-right for either straight toward Don Knotts or right turn onto the bridge. This would allow a much safer and far less confusing intersection.

Terry Kelly

Yes, employers do value liberal arts education

The editorial on Sunday, Aug. 27, about the value of liberal arts education called to mind an interview with a Fortune 500 CEO that I heard several years ago. That CEO said his organization preferred to hire new people with a strong liberal arts education. His view was that they are better grounded for decision-making, getting along with others and developing solutions to problems.

I cannot recall the name of the CEO or where I saw the interview. To refresh my memory, I Googled the question: “How do employers view liberal arts education?” A long list of articles about how “business” sees the value of liberal arts education came back. Among them one from 2019 in the Harvard Business Review, titled “Yes, Employers Do Value Liberal Arts Degrees.”

One must wonder, in light of the range and depth of currently proposed cuts, where West Virginia University sees itself in preparing students for future employment. And to whom the governing board and the administration are listening.

Floyd K. Russell

For WVU to succeed, it must offer better product

In response to the many letters to the editor last Sunday: I did not go to WVU. I do not have a Ph.D. But I can tell you Gordon Gee did not make the decisions by himself. Poor old Gordon was just put out there to take the blame and be burned at the stake by the group-think mob. (Those evil admins aren’t as dumb as you think).

Having graduated from the movies, The Wizard of Oz and The Godfather, I suggest pulling back the curtain to really see who made all the WVU cut decisions. I can tell you it was Mr. Big.

I would further advise that WVU’s problem is a decline in consumers wanting its products. Strange? We have a U.S. president who has regularly canceled student debt (though none of the cancelations have gone into effect), there are lots of government programs that help pay for college and abundant scholarships that pay for college, along with many foreign students who happily pay a higher price for college, but still colleges cannot sell their product?

It is sad when you cannot even give your product away. I think that a significant percentage of young people have concluded that college is a waste of time, even if it’s free. (The less celebrated trade schools and technical schools are booming, despite having smaller endowments, fewer scholarships and fewer freebies.)

The solution is simple — produce a good product that people need, then make it better than anyone else’s product, and you will have many good, lifelong customers and friends. Make WVU great again by making a great product at a fair price.

Leonard George
Star City

Proposed cuts counter to ‘First Ascent’ initiative

WVU announced on Aug. 31 a program called “First Ascent … designed to cultivate and retain local talent within West Virginia” (WVU Today).

These empty words came two days after WVU announced its final recommendation to eliminate all world languages instruction, with a last-minute exception carved out for a few basic classes in Spanish and Chinese.

The state’s political leadership has also declined to raise the alarm about the university’s failure to meet the minimum standards required for a flagship, land-grant institution.

“Leaders” in both Morgantown and Charleston refuse WVU students the opportunity to study French, German, Italian, Russian, Arabic or Japanese — languages offered by their educational competitors — because they think that young people in our state don’t deserve more than second-rate options. Sorry, West Virginia’s young people, you’re just not good enough. Your “leaders” are happy for world-language instruction to disappear from your secondary schools, too — eliminating degree offerings at WVU will eliminate the pool of future language teachers.

Will potential business investors come here when they learn that our schools, by failing to offer language classes, will fail to prepare their children for acceptance at competitive colleges?

Our “leaders,” by their misdeeds and inaction, are creating yet another structural disadvantage for our college students, high school students and families. The desire of WVU administrators to cover up their financial mismanagement and our politicians’ desire to achieve short-term political gain once again take precedence over the common good of our citizenry.

Their decisions prevent the cultivation of local talent and incentivize our young people to leave our state to pursue the opportunities denied them here. It’s time for the snake-oil salesman and his cronies to go, and for our elected leaders to wake up to their responsibilities.

Matthew Vester