Letters to the editor

Wondering what it will take

My name is Jan Ulrich. I am the mother of Nathan Eisert, the former Western basketball player who died by suicide in his dorm on June 8, 2002. We now understand that Nathan was released from the basketball team five weeks prior to his death because of the pain and depression he was dealing with after injuries.

As a member of the Kentucky Suicide Prevention Planning Group (KSPPG), I am encouraged to see several Kentucky universities taking advantage of low or no cost suicide prevention efforts like the Jeb Foundation’s Ulifeline.org and QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) suicide intervention training. I am very disheartened that Western has shown no interest in utilizing these tools. It is not from lack of knowledge – I offered both these options to Western six months to a year ago. A representative from Western’s counseling department even attends the KSPPG meetings, as per my request of President Ransdell.

Suicide is STILL the second leading cause of death for college students and the second leading cause of death for 15- to 34-year-olds in Kentucky. What is it going to take, Western officials? Another suicide death? A lawsuit? I suspect Katie Autry’s family doesn’t want to see another family go through the horrors they must deal with now, so they have hired lawyers to bring this change. My family deals with the same overwhelming pain every minute of every day with the loss of Nathan. My son’s death was no less tragic, and with training and awareness, every bit as preventable. It’s time to prove whether or not the safety of Western students only matters when lawyers are involved.


Jan Ulrich

mother of Nathan Eisert

Students should take note

Responses to Katie Autry’s death indicating that she deserved what she got are typical among the challenged, small-minded among us, and Phyllis Millspaugh’s commentary is a breath of fresh air that the Western community should inhale with full force. It IS time to do something differently, and it’s time to think differently.

As a former student, teaching assistant and graduate of Western, I personally experienced several “near miss” situations involving sexual assault, and what’s more, I was made aware through my female students’ written or spoken testimonials how widespread the problems of sexual violations against women were. This was back in the late 1980s. Now that 20 years have passed, to notice that these problems are still being dismissed or glossed over by the establishment at Western is alarming, to say the least.

Though I did not know Ms. Autry personally, and though I have been far removed from the painful past experiences I myself know about, I received the news of Katie’s death with much consternation. Millspaugh’s perspective is right on target, and it’s time the good folks of Western woke up and addressed this situation with tenacity. Until that happens, females should be duly forewarned that they are at risk, and they should do whatever it takes to protect themselves, including going out the door “packing.”

LaNita Kirby, WKU graduate

Instructor of English, Rowan Cabarrus Community College (Concord, N.C.)

Where is the love for golf?

I am writing regarding the absence of articles that should have been included in the Herald. The golf team does not get enough recognition as it is, but when they do something outstanding, it should be in the paper. Countless other pointless stories get in that no one cares to read about.

Why not include something of some significance? There was an article about the golf team on the front page of the Western sports’ Web page (www.wkusports.com) this weekend, but there was nothing about it in the paper. That just does not make any sense to me. The guys play so far away in tournaments where no one can really go watch them. Why not support them while they are here? They spend countless hours away from school, sometimes even 3-4 days at a time. I doubt any other sports team does that six weeks in a row. So give some recognition to those that deserve it. Nobody wants to see half a page on SGA when nobody even comes to their forums. At least give respect to those who deserve it and include a little bit about what is going on with the golf team just like you do for other sports teams. Why do you give some sports more significance than others? Golf is just as important to these guys as football is to others.

Kelly Barnes

sophomore from Franklin, Tenn.

Thanks for your support

This letter is my public and sincere acknowledgment and appreciation for the support expressed for the family of Philip Shardein and Naomi Sinclair during the recent marrow donor drive Sept. 30 at the First Baptist Church.

I represented the lab, Orchid Diagnostics, that will perform the HLA testing that was arranged by two incredible ladies, Lou Beckner and Lynne Martin. My sincere appreciation for the education and testing of new donors for Philip, Naomi and for the remarkable efforts organized in less than two weeks on their behalf. Patients the world over will benefit from the efforts put forth by this wonderful community. In the 15 years that I have spent involved with this program, I have never witnessed such incredible and selfless commitment by so many people for the care and concern of another.

Tami Brown

Orchid Diagnostics

West Covina, Calif.

Your kindness is appreciated

On Sept. 30, I had the privilege of coordinating a bone marrow drive on behalf of Philip Shardein and Naomi Sinclair. I have worked with the National Marrow Donor Program since 1987, and I have never encountered such a group of people as those that turned out that day.

Lynne Martin and Lou Beckner organized the drive, and did it in an unheard of short length of time. When they told me it would be a “big” drive, I expected that to be maybe 150 donors. Believe it or not, 150 donors is a big drive. Never in a million years would I have expected over 3,200 people to volunteer to be tested. It was incredible to see so many people wanting to help. The fact that people stood up to an hour or two to be tested said a lot for the spirit of your community.

I wish I had a list of names of everyone who helped so that I could thank them personally, but since I don’t, I hope this letter will reach each of you. Words cannot express my gratitude for the help we received by he community.

Judi Baker

Special Programs Manager

Central Kentucky Blood Center