NBAF and football program don’t boost KSU academics

By Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:

As described in the Wednesday, April 30, edition of the Mercury, Kansas State University President Schulz has asked for Manhattan community support as the university expands. That will be good for the planned renovations of the veterinary school and the Grain Sciences Department.

However, the other academic units of KSU do not stand to gain from the presence of NBAF,  or from the football program. Reason: no students will be trained at NBAF or in the football program. Instead, NBAF, the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility, will be an ultra-high-security research lab run by federal government professionals. If there is a tangible benefit of NBAF to KSU departments of, for example, English or physics or the university library, KSU faculty have not heard about it.

Similarly, the economic benefit of weekend home football games — almost $500,000 each, according to the article —goes to local businesses and to the KSU football program (which is a cost center separate from that of KSU academic units), not to university academic programs.

Half a century ago, the University of Chicago abolished its football program. Since then, it has continued as a world-class university. Conclusion: the academic programs of KSU will not be enhanced at all by the presence of NBAF, nor by the ticket and hotel/restaurant sales from home football weekends.

Instead, KSU would become stronger if it were to separate itself from those two programs and simply focus upon its core mission: educating undergrad-uate and graduate students for their diverse chosen careers.

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