By continuing to call SOU a public university, given how the state has reneged on funding over the past decade, is a lie of pathological proportions and the biggest reason why the university is in the situation it is in. To turn SOU around, the administration, community and the state's political leadership must get four things straight:

Move from disintegration to consolidation with SOU becoming the University of Oregon at Ashland, Eastern becoming Oregon State La Grande, and Western becoming Portland State at Monmouth. Consolidation has worked in California, New York and Texas.

Stop building monuments and start endowing administrative assistant positions. The key to a functioning university is in people, not buildings. To think otherwise is to confuse subsidizing the construction industry with supporting higher education.

Think a generation ahead. Prepare participants (not "students" — they're not children) for the world they are going to live in and shape. An art history degree may well be more valuable than an MBA in that world.

Finally and most importantly, stop laboring under the illusion that Oregon has any public universities. That's simply not the case. — Timothy E. Dolan, former director of the master in management program, Ashland

Another injustice is being done to retirees in the Rogue Valley by a company we thought we could count on to treat its employees fairly. One of the oldest and largest companies in Jackson County with the greatest percentage of employees over the years has chosen to cut the benefits of the very people who helped them become successful. Since their retirees can no longer help the company, they are being tossed aside like old rotten pears.

The company is Bear Creek Corporation, namely Harry & David, which has cut out the discount at the Country Store for many vested retirees. WinCo, Grocery Outlet and Fred Meyer nearby have similarly priced fruits and vegetables, but with the discount retirees have been able to beat their price at the Country Store. This was also a perk to compensate for the lower wage they were paying compared to other local companies. Is this fair?

Our family will no longer shop at the country store until they reinstate the employee discount for their retirees.— Al Grosz, Medford

The picture of Tom Cole hugging Julissa Tago was heartwarming and heartbreaking all at the same time.

There's no shame in making the state championship game three years in a row, with or without a win. Panther girls should be nothing but proud for being awarded the Sportsmanship Award for their play and conduct during the tournament as well. Congratulations to Tom Cole and all the South coaches and players for developing such an outstanding girls basketball program.

Congratulations to Dennis Murphy and the Panther boys as well for their first trophy since placing sixth in 2009. Signs of good things to come.

This family is proud to reside in Panther Country. — The Starchvicks, Jacksonville

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