Outside the box
The awful and unnecessary death of George Floyd and others has put thousands of Americans onto the streets and highways, demanding change. Some of the demands are needed and some like defunding or closing police departments scare a large part of our population. So let’s think outside of the box that we have been in for centuries.
Let’s consider letting the inner cities with their unique set of problems stand alone. Suburban communities could move under county control and use county services. If the city wants to have smaller or no police departments and add different types of law enforcement, they can. Other inner-city needs could be structured to best serve the residents.
An alternative would be to simply have a Forsyth County/Winston-Salem central government and services. We now have and pay for a county office and a city office, providing the same services and sometimes from sites less than a half-mile apart. The savings would be phenomenal and could be used to support needed services for minority citizens needing a helping hand.
One governing board, one police chief, one social services department. We do this with schools, why not with everything?
Universities: take precautions
In the May 18 guest column “What I told Vice President Mike Pence,” Wake Forest University President Nathan Hatch, regarding the university’s plans for coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, wrote, “Our concern should be about supporting our communities well as we seek to regain economic vitality safely.”
In the June 4 New York Times, columnist Frank Bruni quotes The Chronicle of Higher Education that “the physically close-knit nature of the classroom and the campus puts colleges not far behind cruise ships and assisted-living facilities as ideal theaters of contagion.”
The same column quotes Andrew Delbanco, professor of American Studies at Columbia University, that this is not just a health crisis, but also a values crisis: “What are our responsibilities to other people?”
Wake Forest has a huge student population living outside the dorms, in houses and apartments in the community. Many families in the nearby community include elderly parents and grandparents.
I urge Hatch to consider following the California State University System, and some other colleges and universities, in offering online classes for most courses. One option is online only classes for subjects that don’t require labs. Another possibility is to require all returning students to live on campus.
“The option of students returning to campus in the fall is not viable, regardless of the economic implications,” argues William G. Tierney in Inside Higher Ed (May 11).
I hope Wake Forest is considering precautions that will prevent students from bringing coronavirus to the neighboring community.
If the writers of the two letters in the June 10 Journal (“Phase Four set” and “Absurdity”) don’t appreciate the difference between protesters gathering to express their views and fans in large numbers paying to attend a car race, one of which is constitutionally protected and cannot be banned by Gov. Roy Cooper, and the other enforceable under the governor’s executive COVID-19 orders, then I suggest they read the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution to understand why the comparisons they make have no merit.