Letters to the Editor

Clemson proves it’s tone deaf by canceling Sparkleberry fair

Fairgoers enjoy one of the many rides at the Sparkleberry Country Fair in 2015.
Fairgoers enjoy one of the many rides at the Sparkleberry Country Fair in 2015. The State file photo

Clemson University has shown itself tone deaf by canceling the Sparkleberry fair at its Sandhills Research and Education Center. Sparkleberry has raised millions for scholarships and programs in Richland District 2, which serves several economically-challenged communities where students speak 63 languages.

The State’s David Travis Bland reports Clemson contends it needs to expand “its core mission and primary function” as an agricultural research station to develop crops and has no space for the fair. The Sandhills website, however, describes three core missions – natural resources, environmental stewardship and agribusiness and, indeed, boasts of hosting the fair.

Clemson proclaims it has 32,000 acres statewide for agricultural research – including 600 at Sandhills – but now suddenly cannot devote a few acres a few days each spring to benefit a district where 60 percent of the students are African-American and half qualify for free or reduced-price lunches.

That’s a tone-deaf decision by a university where only 6 percent of the students are African-American and where there were demonstrations on campus two years ago celled for more diversity.

One can only hope that the Clemson board of trustees will reverse a bad decision that looks even worse.

Bruce Smith

Columbia

Foster kids need parents as much as illegal immigrant kids

This year, our country, fueled by heavy press coverage, freaked out about children illegally entering the United States and being separated from their parents.

An article in The State this past week pointed out that we have 4,600 children in foster care in South Carolina separated from their parents. Across the U.S., there are in excess of 400,000 of such children. Yet, I have never in my 72 years seen any concern or freak out about these children, most of whom are American citizens. There is certainly no media rush on this topic, and there may never be one.

Please be as concerned about our own children in the U.S. as you are about those illegally entering our country.

William Applegate

Columbia

SC should be showing support for immigrant families

In 2016, Hurricane Matthew devastated the Midlands. Some of us were forced to leave our homes to protect ourselves and our children. Huddled together, you could not tell who had escaped a lake mansion or a trailer park. We saw the best of the state in those tough times. Flooding from Hurricane Florence affecting our coastal areas is likely to reveal the same.

Our cultural values of love and family are in conflict with shifting views on immigration that accommodate extreme policies. Two policies in particular represent the current politics of fear: ongoing stories of family separation and denial of due process for asylum seekers. The families that are separated and asylum seekers have had grueling journeys, often escaping horrific circumstances at home. Some of these adults and children are now living in South Carolina, in need of love and support – not fear and hate.

The midterms and Supreme Court nomination battle may dominate media coverage, but thousands of people are being affected by current immigration policy shifts while our attention is elsewhere. Call your representatives to let them know you favor keeping families together. Join the SC United With Immigrants coalition if you want to be more involved.

Chris Goodman

Columbia

Pence not Trump should worry about Haley

Donald Trump may not have to worry about Nikki Haley running against him in the 2020 election, but I think Mike Pence may have reason to worry. Nikki Haley could very well replace him on the ticket.

David Humphries

Irmo

The State publishes a cross section of the letters we receive from South Carolinians in order to provide a forum for our community and also to allow our community to get a good look at itself, for good or bad. The letters represent the views of the letter writers, not necessarily of The State.

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