In front of the Winona State University Darrell Krueger Library, there is a large stainless steel square with the words from four different quotes of founding fathers of the city of Winona.
They were installed in 1999, during President Darrell Krueger’s term from 1989-2005. Since then, thousands of students and faculty have passed them by without notice or acknowledgement.
“All I wanted to do was make sure that those forefathers’ words that were so inspirational and set a standard for the university would be preserved,” Krueger said. Krueger repeated the four quotes in his inauguration speech.
Over the course of 16 years, do students still know what the words say?
Senior Allison Bergsbaken said she did not know what the words said.
“I once tried looking at them but it was super sunny outside and the metal was too bright to read them,” Bergsbaken said.
“That was a very unusual thing. They’re very hard to read in the stainless steel plaque that’s on the ground, so I had them put the words up on each of the pillars around them so people could read them more easily,” he said.
Looking down on the words from the third floor of Minne, English major Katie Kelly said she used to know what the words said, but does not recall them.
Adrienne Rische, another English major, said she did not know what the words said.
“And the students started using the bench designs for skateboards to jump on,” Krueger said. “I think they’ve done something about that now. They were getting all scratched up because of the skateboards jumping on them.”
The first quote is from 1859 Minnesota Lieutenant Governor William Holcombe’s speech and says the establishment of Winona State University is “an improvement in education” that will “increase the prosperity, elevate the character and promote the happiness of the nation.”
The second quote is from WSU’s first president John Ogden’s inaugural address in 1860 and says if the school succeeds, students will leave this institution with physical, intellectual and moral improvements that will help them succeed in society.
The third quote is from E.S. Youmans, a Winona County lumber baron in 1864 who said “the state needs a [normal] school.” He said he would be ashamed to live in a state that does not value education.
The fourth and final quote is from 1879-80 Minnesota Superintendent of Public Instruction, D.S. Burt’s First Biennial Report, which said the benefit of a college culture is good and those who receive a college education will receive those benefits.
Burt compared the university to an “engineer who plans our bridges,” “pilots who guides the steamer into port,” a “chemist who assays our ores” and a “linguist who translates foreign literature into our language” and concludes with the state benefitting from supporting the school.
“Well I think it set the standard for the university and I have a sense of what the forefathers, the founding fathers of Winona thought what the university of Winona would be,” Krueger said.
Krueger said Winona State is holding up to the quotes’ meaning.
“It’s starting to be recognized as a quality institution and it’s maintained itself through the years. It’s certainly has produced a lot of wonderful leaders and a lot of professional people and a lot of wonderful teachers, mothers and fathers and wonderful educators,” he said.
Krueger said he hopes students are reading, internalizing and remembering them.
“I think they need to be brought back to life,” Krueger said. “When they were just in books, I don’t think many people would have seen them or appreciated them. They merited being prominently shown on our campus and I think they are.”
Krueger compared the quotes to Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.
“That needs to be remembered and those words need to be implanted in the minds of our students and faculty at the university and the community,” Krueger said.
Students and professors peacefully protested and marched at Winona State University on Thursday, April 23, at the annual “Take Back the Night” event to give victims of sexual assault a safe place to speak out and be supported.
The event started at 6 p.m. in the WSU Student Union with survivor and victim stories of sexual assault. Many participants told their stories. They were given a flower and received hugs from people in the audience afterward.
After the speakers, Women and Gender Studies (WAGS) professor Tamara Berg thanked them for telling their stories.
“I can see the victim and blame culture coming out in the survivor’s stories,” Berg said. “It’s not your fault and by telling your story, you’re starting to change the culture.”
Many of the victims said they were blamed for the assault and many said they felt it was their fault after it happened.
“It’s unbelievable that survivors tell their stories because they are painful to retell,” Berg continued. “It doesn’t matter how much you drank or what you wore, it’s not your fault.”
Winona County Attorney Kevin O’Laughlin attended the event and listened to the stories. He spoke to the victims and thanked them for having the strength to tell their stories.
“We’ve come a long way, we have a long way yet to go,” O’Laughlin said. “As a representative of the criminal justice system, thank you. Please share your stories with law enforcement. If you have the courage and strength to tell your story, you help me hold offenders accountable. Sexual assault is not the victim’s fault.”
The second part of the night was a march through campus, to Broadway, over to Main Street and then back to campus. Winona State students Bobbi Jo Wrona and Emily Homan led the march and chants. As the group passed by the Quad residence hall, students yelled at them. The group marched on.
The Winona Women’s Resource Center director, Diana Miller, said “Take Back the Night” was organized by the center more than 30 years ago. Miller said the attendance wasn’t very large and it got more attention when Winona State took it over. The average attendance is about 80 to 100 people. Last year’s attendance numbered 200 people, Miller said.
“It’s the most important event for the Women’s Resource Center. It’s an opportunity for everyone who is interested in advocating to get involved,” Miller said. “We honor survivors and have a spirited march at the end. It’s meaningful and emotional for everyone.”
Miller said she loves this event because it raises awareness and gets advocates motivated to get the hard work done.
“We just keep going and advocate on,” Miller said. “Advocating is hard work.”
Many students attended the event because they themselves were survivors of sexual assault.
Child Advocacy Studies minor Ashley Murphy said she attended because she was assaulted and is an advocate.
“It’s important to give people a voice and have a safe place to talk,” Murphy said.
Two students are making a poster with pictures for the event to get more people to come next year.
Social work junior Andrea White said FORGE (Fighting for Our Rights and Gender Equality) funds the event for the food, flowers and the clothesline project outside of Minne Hall.
“I loved the turn-out. I’ve been attending since freshman year, but this is the first year I spoke out,” White said. “You can see the victim blaming culture is really pervasive in our society, there were people yelling from the Quad.”
White said the goal is to get more people to come and create a community where we support each other.
“It’s a unique opportunity and there’s so much more to it when you sit in that space and listen to their story,” White said. “I think next week it will be on everyone’s mind at one point.”
Junior social work major Madeline Mowery said she attended this event her freshman year because it was required for a class. Later, she made WAGS her minor and is the FORGE secretary.
“This year’s event went really well, I think it was the best one so far because I was involved with the planning and appreciated it more,” Mowery said. “I really liked it and made it my minor.”
Community Health junior Leah Peterson said she loves the empowerment the event gives.
“I came because I spoke last year and I have a friend who has been a victim of domestic violence,” Peterson said. “I know a lot of victims and I came to support them.”
Boaters on Minnesota waters are supposed to take measures to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. A new law might have boaters staying off Minnesota water and roadways altogether.
According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Statute 86B.13 will require boaters to take an educational training course about aquatic invasive species and pass an online test to legalize the transportation of watercrafts to and from different bodies of water.
April Rust, an invasive species training coordinator for the DNR, said a lot of aquatic invasive species laws were changed in 2011 and 2012. In the legislation package, one of them was a required boat sticker, four inches wide and eight inches tall, which stated the aquatic invasive species laws.
“What the law stated was anyone that was using any watercraft in Minnesota would have to put the sticker somewhere on their boat, just so they would have the laws with them,” Rust said. “People did not like it and it was less than a year in the next legislative session, that thing was repealed. We had printed some and already had gotten them out and so there was a lot of confusion about it and there was no training or education requirement. All it said was that you need one of these stickers that are free at a DNR office. Call or stop by and get one and put it on your boat.”
Rust said it was very unpopular and the legislature repealed it, but there was “incredible pressure” by groups, lake associations and citizen groups who wanted make sure people knew and followed aquatic invasive species laws.
The new 2015 program, originally set to launch in January and officially required on July 1, 2015, would have boaters take an online course for $5 to learn about aquatic invasive species and then to pass a ten-point quiz at the end, which can be taken as many times as people need. They would receive a decal to be display on their trailers and renew it once every three years, Rust said. If owners have more than one watercraft, they can receive extra stickers.
There was also a paper version ready to be printed for those who do not have Internet, which would cost $11. The $5 online fee would cover the vendor’s costs to manage and host the online content, Rust said.
“Anyone transporting water related equipment in Minnesota would need to take the short course,” Rust said. “And the course in the statute says that the course will instruct people about aquatic invasive species and aquatic invasive species laws in Minnesota.”
Rust said she isn’t sure where the idea came from, be it legislation, citizen groups or staff, but the DNR did not start it.
“This wasn’t ours necessarily, other than we got pulled into it because of our jurisdiction,” Rust said. “So the purpose was to just to make sure that people knew aquatic invasive species laws and to follow it to lower the risk of spreading aquatic invasive species.”
Aquatic invasive species are not native to specific bodies of water and cause environmental or human harm. Zebra mussels, specific types of carp, and weeds are the most invasive species, which can suffocate native plants and disrupt natural habitats, according to the DNR. A full list is available at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/invasives/index.html.
The DNR said aquatic invasive species are spread by not washing off aquatic plants from trailers and watercraft, not draining live wells or water tanks before leaving boat landings, not removing drain plugs and releasing live bait into the water.
Rust said there was mixed opposition and support of the law, but most people wanted to comply with the law.
“They got a lot of phone calls and I would say just from talking to them and from the calls I got, the majority of people calling just wanted to ask questions or get registered to take the course,” Rust said.
Rust said she teaches aquatic invasive species training for businesses that require permits, such as lake associations, boat haulers and irrigators, which take a three-hour training, every three years, and pay $50 for a permit.
“At least 20 percent of them were gung-ho about it, and then a bunch in the middle who just had logistical questions or just wanted to get it and didn’t express an opinion either way,” Rust said.
She estimated about 10 percent of boaters were upset about the law, and those are the ones who have been active and gotten legislators involved. There’s a Facebook group, “Repeal MN Statute 86B.13,” which has 3,450 likes and posts updates about the law’s progress in the legislature. Rust added there is “a lot of misinformation about the program out there.”
“It’s not to dismiss it. They are some of the loudest voices,” Rust said. “I’d say the majority are either supportive or neutral about it.”
Competitive bass angler Cade Laufenberg said he takes the necessary precautions by law to prevent invasive species spreading.
“I do not go through great lengths or above and beyond my call of duty to do such. I do not have time to wash and dry my boat thoroughly after each use when I fish as often as five days per week,” Laufenberg said. “I drain my live wells, remove any weeds from the trailer and boat and wipe down the boat with a water-based solution.”
On Jan. 28, the DNR said in a news release the training course would be “postponed while legislators consider changes to the program.” They also said there were “concerns with the way the law was written.” One concern was boaters traveling through Minnesota but not launching in Minnesota waters, would still need the required training and sticker.
The decals must be obtained through the training course and once received, “must be displayed on the tongue of the trailer near the hitch and does not interfere with any other sticker regulations,” according to the DNR.
If boaters are found without the decal after July 1, they will be ordered by conservation officers to take the training course before continuing to operate or transport watercraft, according to the DNR.
Laufenberg agrees “we should be doing something to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species” and said “the AIS program has good intentions, but the methods used to try and implement this are a burden on the public who use the waterways and bring so much to Minnesota’s economy.”
“Why should boaters be required to pay additional fees on top of the fees we already pay just to continue using the waterways?” Laufenberg said. “I think the law passing will make virtually no difference whatsoever in the number of invasive species.”
Rust said fewer than five percent of Minnesota’s lakes, numbering 12,000 and about 6,500 rivers and streams, are infected with aquatic invasive species and are listed on the infested waters list.
“It’s not as horrific a picture as I think the public perception is,” Rust said. “Not to dismiss it at all, but it’s not like it’s a done deal where every water body is going to be infested with all of these things.”
Education is the main tool the DNR uses to prevent aquatic invasive species from spreading. The basics of the education programs help boaters know about aquatic invasive species and what they should be doing and the basic laws and how to lower the risk of spreading them, Rust said.
“Prevention is definitely the first priority because if you can keep species out, that’s the most cost-effective easiest way to do it,” Rust said. “There’s a whole bunch of methods, out reach and communication, watercraft inspectors, official DNR ones that have pressure wash stations and will do decontaminations on boats for people for free.”
They also use campaigns, grants and volunteer inspectors trained by DNR staff. The inspectors do not have legal authority, but Rust said the DNR has extended their authority to require inspections and have that force of law.
“We can give that authority to county or city or local unit of government and their employees can be trained and have the equivalent of DNR inspector,” Rust said.
Rust said that a new zebra mussel researcher at the University of Minnesota Research Center said “zebra mussels in Minnesota have spread a decade slower than they have in other Great Lakes states.”
“We don’t know if it’s an effect of geography or our programming or what, but it’s been slower here,” Rust said. “That being said, once a water body is infested, eradication is almost impossible.”
Rust said she thought the new training program would contribute to fewer violations at the check stations and collection points. Compliance rates are compared every year and the rates are going down each year, Rust said.
“Last summer it was 16 or 17 percent at our random check stations of violation rates,” Rust said. “When you’re talking about a few people it would take to spread to a different water body, that’s still too high a percentage.”
Winona State University announced a reassignment to new duties for the Vice President for University Advancement on Thursday, Jan. 22.
According to an email sent to all university accounts, the direction Ernie Hughes introduced did not align with President Scott Olson’s vision for advancing Winona State.
His new duties will focus on “enrollment strategies that will benefit the university,” the email read.
Previous Vice President Gary Evans will return and serve as an interim until a new vice president can be found. The university’s search will “begin immediately,” according to the email.
Hughes was an “at-will” employee of the university, which means an employee can be fired without a just cause for termination.
Olson hired Hughes in June 2014 and his term started Aug. 11, 2014 with a salary of $155,000.
The job description included planning, coordinating, managing and implementing all fundraisers for Winona State and the WSU Foundation, which provides scholarships for students and funding for university programs.
Hughes was also a senior member on the president’s Council of Administrators and served on the President’s Cabinet.
Other duties included reaching out to business and community leaders as well as supervising advancement, communications, alumni services, creative services, government relations, Foundation finance and communicates with the Foundation Board of Trustees.
Hughes’s resume showed several degrees in leadership and advancement positions. He holds a doctor of philosophy degree in human resource development from Louisiana State University, a master of business administration degree in marketing and a bachelor of business administration degree in finance and logistics from Mississippi State University.
Before his position at Winona State, Hughes held similar positions. From August 2010 to October 2013, he was the vice president for advancement and executive director of the System Foundation at Southern University System in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which is a network of five universities in Louisiana.
According to his resume, during his term at Southern University System, he increased donations by 34 percent, increased unrestricted gifts by 37 percent with the creation of a leadership giving society. He was also responsible for soliciting gifts of $5,000 and higher from alumni and non-alumni friends. Notably, he secured a $2.4 million gift for the University system.
Alex Hines, inclusion and diversity director at WSU, was acquainted with Hughes during his time at WSU.
“I think he’s a dynamic African-American male,” Hines said. “He’s genuine, sincere, honest. We enjoyed each other’s company.”
Hughes and Olson were unavailable for comment. Olson was off-campus at the MnSCU Board Meeting and deferred to Cristeen Custer, assistant vice president for marketing and communications, who said in an email that the statement sent on Jan. 22, “is the only information we will be providing on this topic.”