EDITORIAL: New chancellor a great choice

May 13—Thumbs up to the Minnesota State colleges and universities system for choosing Scott Olson as the next chancellor.

Olson, the president of Winona State University, is well known to many local residents.

He was for many years the provost of Minnesota State University, until being appointed president for Winona in 2012. Before coming to Mankato, Olson was a dean at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, and a director of graduate studies at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Connecticut.

Olson has a broad range of interests, knowledge and education and has a likable, easygoing personality. He's known for spurring students and staff to academic excellence and success.

He told trustees after his appointment that his family benefited from the state university system, but said they can't rest until everyone has the same opportunity.

Olson is well qualified to work on the issues that face the sprawling system of 33 colleges and universities, including MSU and South Central College. The system has a roughly $2 billion budget and works with about 300,000 students.

Their own books

Thumbs up to the efforts of the Olseth Family Foundation, with the Greater Mankato United Way's assistance, in distributing books that children can call their own.

Every year the foundation foots the bill to give fourth graders in the Greater Mankato area a copy of Shel Silverstein's "Where the Sidewalk Ends." They'll distribute more than 1,600 copies this year.

This week Mankato Roosevelt Elementary School's fourth graders received their own books, and members of the community celebrated by doing some readings from the book.

That group effort celebrates kids and the love of reading. Or as Shel Silverstein writes:

Yes, we'll walk with a walk this is measured and slow.

And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go.

For the children, they mark, and the children, they know

The place where the sidewalk ends.

Poor sportsmanship

Thumbs down to the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association for its poor sportsmanship for announcing it would not participate in the Governor's Deer Opener because they don't like his positions on gun legislation and other deer issues.

The group's Executive Board voted unanimously to not participate in the opener for the first time "due to continued attempts to ban wolf hunting and anti-gun legislation within the state, which are in direct opposition to our mission."

The deer hunters association has been an organizing partner with the Department of Natural Resources and Explore Minnesota since 2002.

The nonprofit association seems to have delved into political advocacy, which can sometimes threaten a group's nonprofit status. That should concern the members. The association also has chapters all over the state, and it stands to reason some of those chapters presumably may not agree with the executive board.

It's unclear if there was a member vote taken on this issue or if the board can act unilaterally. We reached out to the association with those questions but did not hear back.

The statement by Executive Director Jared J. Mazurek strikes us as petty and unsportsmanlike. We can disagree on policies, and democracy is served when the majority elects people based on their policies.

The legislation to prevent gun violence and the passage of red flag laws are supported by 64% of Minnesotans in a recent poll.

Rational and civil discussion would have been a better solution than canceling participation in an event the promotes and celebrates deer hunting. Pulling support from an event the supports deer hunting is pulling support from all those businesses and people who benefit from it.