I am writing in response to Barry Paschal's column that appeared in the Dec. 23 issue of the Athens Banner-Herald, "Freshman state senator was joking with comments on liberal bent at UGA."
I am a professor at the University of Georgia in the Warnell School of Forest Resources, and I have been told throughout my life that I have a wonderful sense of humor. But I guess you'll have to count me as one of those "humorless stuffed shirts in Athens" who did not find a lot to laugh about in the senator's joking remarks.
Since the state legislature determines the level of funding for the University, if Paschal was an employee of UGA he might not be rolling on the floor when a member of that legislature "jokes" that the only component of UGA worth keeping is the football team. Maybe he is not aware of what the state's budget situation has already done to the University, and that a number of UGA employees have been laid off in the past year. They did not find a lot to laugh about in the state's budget this past year.
If someone who purports to love UGA makes jokes like Whitehead's, what does that say about state legislators who do not care much for UGA? So, we at UGA did not need Paschal's condescending column to tell us Whitehead was joking or that we should lighten up. Because he is a state senator, Whitehead's "jokes" need to be taken a little more seriously than if he were just a newspaper publisher.
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