To the Editor:
With interest, I read the recent article regarding the decision by three Saluki cheerleaders to kneel during the playing of the national anthem. Although lacking originality, the protest did succeed in generating the type of publicity apparently coveted by the aggrieved.
With equal interest, I read the public statements by Chancellor Montemagno and Director Bell regarding the protest. The statements, while replete with the requisite references to rights, amounted to nothing more than a tepid tiptoe through the imagined minefield of political correctness. Unfortunately, gentlemen, leadership is not defined as the abdication of authority.
To the cheerleaders, understand that your decision to disrespect this nation comes at a price. Ladies, many years ago, I made the choice to bequeath my estate to Southern Illinois University, with specific instructions to endow athletic scholarships for members of the football team. As a direct result of your action, coupled with unacceptably timid responses from Chancellor Montemagno and Director Bell, I have elected to cancel the bequest. And that, ladies, is my right.
Finally, Chancellor Montemagno stated that as an educational institution, Southern Illinois University can help students find constructive ways to engage the campus in dialog about issues of importance. As part of that dialog, I would recommend a section on unintended repercussions. Please use my former will as an example.
Mickey V. Haslett