As an undergraduate student at the University of St. Thomas from 2000-2004, I can vouch for the Rev. Dennis Dease's list of Catholic-identity accolades (Opinion Exchange, Dec. 11).
St. Thomas has indeed done much to promote and preserve its Catholic identity.
But in responding to Kathleen Kersten's Dec. 6 column, neither Father Dease nor Archbishop Harry Flynn addressed her central concern: How is the university's Catholic identity preserved by a change in the bylaws that removes the sitting archbishop as chairman of the board of trustees?
Archbishop Flynn promised in his letter that the board would always include bishops or priests. But unless this promise appears in the bylaws, it's only as good as his five-year term.
As a proud graduate of St. Thomas, I am deeply concerned for the university's future as a Catholic university. Like Kersten, I believe the preservation of the university's Catholic identity is key to maintaining a true diversity in education.
No list of accolades, and certainly no word-of-mouth guarantee from an archbishop with a coadjutor, will assure me that St. Thomas won't cave in to secularization. Until I see the sitting archbishop written back into the board's bylaws, any guarantee of the university's continued Catholicity to me seems ill-founded, inaccurate and ludicrous.
FRANZ S. KLEIN, LA CROSSE, WIS. StarTribune