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Letter: Continue fight for Ray Richards Golf Course

Ray Richards golf course. Herald file photo.

Unlike the weeds and grasses clinging to life, I don't plan on wilting away with the first frost when it comes to the fate of Ray Richards Golf Course. I believe the decision to sell the Ray Richards property is ill-advised at best and perhaps unethical when considering the donor's written direction.

One-time UND Interim Vice President for University and Public Affairs Peter Johnson stated that he didn't believe the original 1962 donor agreement "needs to be continued" as a golf course nor did it stipulate a lifespan for the course.

I have a copy of the 10-paragraph agreement. Paragraph two states: "It is understood by the University that this land is being donated for a golf course to be known as the Raymond Richards Golf Course. A modern nine-hole course with grass greens is to be built by the University."

Paragraph 10 states: "The University of North Dakota expresses sincere appreciation to Raymond Richards for contributing his share of this farm for a golf course to be known as the University of North Dakota Raymond Richards Golf Course."

While correctly stating there is not a lifespan in this agreement, neither was there a sunset clause. What was initially "understood by the university" in 1962 is now being reinterpreted. And the sincerity expressed by the university in 1962 is, in hindsight, about as sincere as an egg-sucking dog shaking hands with a pregnant hen while expressing his gratitude that they could work out their differences. Tenuous at best with a limited shelf life.

Short of receiving a copy of the original donor agreement, I've had no response to my emails, letters, etc. I am left to wonder if negotiations may be underway to sell off the School of Communication in a deal that includes the Public Relations department. In part, perhaps, to pay for speech writers who could furnish President Kennedy with witty retorts like his "This is not the University of Grand Forks, it's the University of North Dakota" given in a rather Nixonesque response to a question about his travel habits.

Regular interviews with this president, including questions crafted to trigger similar responses could prove entertaining. Maybe his golf game isn't up to par. Just a Freudian thought.

Steve Sulland

Grand Forks

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