Foundations for Writing

SCSU Site for English 191

December 9, 2019
by Judith Kilborn

“Shades of Gray”

Linda Larson, who teaches in our department, wrote this interesting opinion piece for the St. Cloud Times, focusing on unpacking assumptions about Christian organizations’ and their treatment of LGBTQ+ communities, including assistance provided to the homeless. Here’s a key section of the opinion piece:

This leads me to my question of whether or not I should support the Salvation Army or, for that matter, any faith-based organization that doesn’t perfectly align with my personal beliefs. The answer is a muddled shade of gray.

If the answer is that I should never support anything faith-based, I’m guilty of discrimination. Why should I lump all Christians together? Thinking of my Catholic heritage, I admired Mother Teresa, now Saint Teresa of Calcutta, for her dedication for caring for the poor. Dorothy Day, founder of The Catholic Worker, worked tirelessly for social justice. These two women were heroes, but they belonged to a church whose official position conflicts with my support of the LGBTQ+ community.

Here in Central Minnesota, Catholic Charities in St. Cloud distributes free food and financial assistance. Last Sunday’s St. Cloud Times editorial stated that Catholic Charities helped 53,000 people last year.

The Salvation Army tends to the homeless in St. Cloud.

If the boycott bankrupts the Salvation Army, then the Salvation Army would leave St. Cloud. If we expand a boycott to all faith-based organizations and it’s successful, Catholic Charities and Lutheran Social Services would shut down. It wouldn’t change the fact that Christians who live in this area would help people.

And here a link to the full “Shades of Gray” piece in the St. Cloud Times.

December 2, 2019
by Judith Kilborn

“Homelessness Is Mankato’s Hidden Issue”

The AP picked up an article on homelessness in Mankato that Brian Arola originally wrote for the Mankato Free Press. Here’s the lead:

MANKATO, Minn. (AP) — The word “hidden” comes up frequently when you ask experts about homelessness in Mankato.

Homelessness here, say those who work with the people experiencing it, doesn’t fit the stereotype of a disheveled panhandler asking for change on a street corner.

Here, it looks like a man taking refuge in a public library knowing he’s less likely to be shooed away there. Or a family searching for stability in a shelter after losing everything in a house fire. Or a teen crashing on a friend’s couch because home isn’t safe.

The general public might not see examples of it unless they know where to look. Its lack of visibility shouldn’t be mistaken for nonexistence.

The article is a really good snapshot of homelessness in Mankato and the area’s attempts to track and address the issue. The extended example makes the process of how it happens understandable; understandable, too, is the difficulty of “Getting a grasp” on the number of people experiencing homelessness.

December 1, 2019
by Judith Kilborn

“St. Cloud sisters take on sexual assault, help survivors navigate the system”

Lee LaDue, SCSU’s coordinator of gender violence prevention, and her sister, Peggy, executive director of the Central Minnesota Sexual Assault Center, were featured in today’s St. Cloud Times. Here’s the article lead and a link to the full text:

During the last several decades, two sisters have become known as area leaders in sexual assault advocacy, education and prevention.

Peggy and Lee LaDue have been working in the field in Central Minnesota since the early 1990s and have, between the two of them, more than 50 years experience.

Lee has worked with many of my students over the years—both those who have worked in the Women’s Center as well as victims of sexual assault, female and male. An essential part of Lee’s caring, professional work occurs when students go to her for help. Another substantial part of what she does is working with those who choose to report assaults, including assistance as they move through the process with police and the courts. When appropriate, she also communicates with faculty as students who are victims of sexual assault move through the court process.

It sounds as if Lee is retiring at the end of the summer. I’m not sure how we’ll get along without her. I’ve referred students to her, and they’ve inevitably been grateful for her assistance. Lee has also reached out to me when a few of my students were going to court and wanted to let me know. I will really miss her presence on campus.

December 1, 2019
by Judith Kilborn

Threat against Ilhan Omar leads to Twitter Ban

In case you haven’t heard, here’s the lead of an November 30th article from NBC News:

Ilhan Omar’s opponent banned from Twitter after suggesting congresswoman should be hanged

“Violent rhetoric inevitably leads to violent threats, and ultimately, violent acts,” Omar said in response to the threatening tweets from Republican candidate Danielle Stella.

You can find the rest of the article at

November 4, 2019
by Judith Kilborn

“St. Cloud professor examines Minnesota’s ties to slaveholder wealth in new book”

Professor Christopher Lehman will talk about his new book documenting Minnesota’s ties to slavery on Wednesday, November 6th, at 7 p.m. in Miller Center Auditorium. This St. Cloud Times’ article reveals some of this history. (I mentioned some of this information in class the other day.) I recommend this article and also recommend that you attend Dr. Lehman’s talk. He’s always interesting.


November 4, 2019
by Judith Kilborn

Immigration looms over contested Minnesota school referendum

Check out the impacts of immigration on Worthington schools and on growing city businesses.

November 3, 2019
by Judith Kilborn

“Lack of formal shelters for homeless in rural Minnesota”

Today’s St. Cloud Times article on rural homelessness in Minnesota is worthwhile reading. Here’s the lead:

MARSHALL (AP) — Cortney Zukauska doesn’t let herself get too comfortable. Ask her what she seeks five years in the future and her answer is simple.

“Surviving,” she said. “And raising my babies the best I can.”

Pictures of her six children line the walls of the house she’s renting here. Being a mother is Zakauska’s first priority, and securing this home for her children four years ago was no small feat.

“It’s really the first stability — I mean real stability — they’ve had,” she told Minnesota Public Radio News.

You’ll find the article here:

October 13, 2019
by Judith Kilborn

“100 mannequins representing homeless youth in the community go on display in St. Cloud Saturday”

This St. Cloud Times article describes an event sponsored yesterday by Pathways 4 Youth to raise awareness of youth homelessness in St. Cloud and the services available to these youth through the organization. Here’s the lead of the article, which also talks about how youth experiencing homelessness participated in the event and how people can help address this issue—a national issue that also affects our community and those in it:

More than 100 mannequins in blaze orange sweatshirts were set up along Minnesota Highway 23 in St. Cloud on Saturday.

The display — organized by Pathways 4 Youth — represented the number of youth experiencing homelessness on any given night in Central Minnesota.

“A lot of people in the community just don’t know,” said Tim Wensman, board chair and president of Pathways 4 Youth, in an interview with the Times on Tuesday. “We want to try to reach that audience by being on Division, having an outdoor experience, allowing people just to drive in and spend 10 or 20 minutes just to learn about it”

A group of more than 100 mannequins represent youth experiencing
homelessness in Central Minnesota on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019 along
Minnesota Highway 23 in St. Cloud. (Photo: Jenny Berg,

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