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Hunter: Noem Attack on Regents Won’t Sway New Student Enrollment Decisions, Doesn’t Sound Like Coherent Policy

On South Dakota Public Radio this noon, Madison Daily Leader publisher emeritus Jon Hunter said Governor Kristi Noem’s scattershot declaration of woke-war on South Dakota’s august public universities last week probably won’t affect student decisions much:

Lori Walsh: If you were sending a child to college right now, a freshman, and this was coming out and you were having the conversation about, with your student who’s deciding whether to stay in state or go out of state, what would that dinner-table conversation be like?

Jon Hunter: I don’t think this letter would affect that. I think there are other factors, especially what is this student interested in, how will they be treated—um, I don’t think these are. no I think these are, not for—high school seniors would not make a decision to be in state or out of state, based on this [Jon Hunter, interviewed by Lori Walsh, “An Analysis of Gov. Noem’s Board of Regents Letter,” SDPB Radio: In the Moment, 2023.05.31; transcribed from audio by CAH/DFP].

Hunter also agreed with interviewer Lori Walsh that Noem’s broadside against the Regents reads like an agglomeration of Republican talking points (down with drag shows! up with civics requirements!), not intelligent education policy:

Walsh: I would be remiss if we didn’t also point out that this letter includes—I don’t want to say the word hodgepodge, I don’t know if that’s fair—but multiple topics that don’t seem to hang together. So, here is a conversation about graduation rates paired with a conversation about what students know about civics in America paired with a “don’t make people use the preferred pronouns” with a “don’t have any drag shows.” It’s very—it’s almost kitchen sink, throw in everything. Is it cohesive policy? I mean, I don’t know how anybody would even say it’s cohesive policy.

Hunter: Right. That’s the first thing that struck me when I read the letter, was, you’re talking about graduation rates and educational quality and so forth, then you jump over into safe spaces or some of the other things you just mentioned, and it doesn’t seem—it does seem, though, that several of these are certainly national issues, and they are Republican issues… [Walsh/Hunter, 2023.05.31].

When Jon Hunter doesn’t think you sound coherent, you have a serious composition problem.

Hunter and Walsh didn’t say much about the Governor’s new hotline for ratting out drag queens and other enemies of the state at our universities. But as of this evening, after technical glitches plaguing its hasty and evidently ill-planned roll-out, 605-773-5916 is once again playing the Board of Regents intro and its avowal to keep our universities accountable to “South Dakota values”, and the voicemail is available to concerned callers.

We can only hope that the hotline and its contents, if they ever see the light of day thanks to a reasonable open records request, will likely fade away with this letter as just another of Kristi Noem’s half-baked attention-grabbers that won’t have any lasting effect on most citizens practical decision-making or quality of life.


  1. P. Aitch 2023-05-31 18:47

    Who ever complimented Ian Fury by referring to his communication skills as “coherent “?
    No one.

  2. Kristi 2023-05-31 19:20

    While I suspect it’s true any changes inspired by the governor’s directive won’t budge overall enrollment numbers much, I do think it will make LGBTQ+ students (and faculty and staff) more likely to leave the state. This continues the trend of anti-queer legislation that just don’t make people feel welcome or — frankly — safe.

  3. Bonnie B Fairbank 2023-05-31 19:20

    What I gathered from this article is Walsh and Hunter intimate Noem babbles like a cretin without spelling it out for us.

  4. grudznick 2023-05-31 19:41

    Clearly young Governor Noem is firing a ball across the bow of the most woke Regents, like Messrs. Partridge and Rave.

  5. Curt 2023-05-31 19:58

    Wait a minute – Partridge, Rave: “woke”?

  6. DaveFN 2023-05-31 20:59

    Noem uses higher education and everything else as a pretext to feather her nest with stupid statements she can’t begin to fathom or substantiate while enjoying flitting around the country on South Dakota’s dime.

  7. Arlo Blundt 2023-05-31 21:03

    I certainly hope the Governor is not including the Strollers Show at USD in her ban. Strollers often dress as women for skits and acts of various kinds, though they’ve admitted women to the organization for the past twenty-five years. Given how irreverent they are in their humor, they will probably dress men as women and women as men. Strollers was established in 1924, so next spring’s show will be the centennial anniversary of the organization. Among other South Dakotans who dressed as women for a Strollers Show “In-Between” Act was Governor George Mickelson.

  8. grudznick 2023-05-31 21:21

    Mr. Curt, grudznick is just saying that the Messrs. Rave and Partridge are woker then most of the other Regents. For instance, they are more woke than Ms. Roberts or Mr. Thares. By West-River standards, Mr. Partridge is pretty woke.

  9. flopster 2023-05-31 21:43

    Off topic but take a read of Dakota Country Magazine, June 2023 edition, page 18. Unreal how KN has zipped the lips of the SD Game Fish & Parks. Why do they fear her so ?
    There is a lack of communication to the public. Staffers were instructed to not give interviews to the public that contains, “bad news”, ie ‘avian influenza’. This is just one example of her idea of ‘governing’. She doesn’t give press interviews either from how I understand it.
    My point being she wants ‘total domination’ (control) of EVERY entity in the state of SDak be it university biz, GFParks etc. most of which she is clueless to their workings.

  10. grudznick 2023-05-31 21:49

    Don’t those fellows work for Governor Noem, Mr. flopster? I heard she ordered the Dept. of Labor to stop talking about the Scurvy disease because it was panicking some people in Watertown. But hey, they work for her so they must do her bidding.

  11. Arlo Blundt 2023-06-01 00:03

    Gruydz–you’re saying that in doing their work, state employees must do the bidding of Governor Noem, and ignore their responsibilities for the health and safety of South Dakota citizens?

  12. sx123 2023-06-01 00:05

    Again I ask, but now harder: wtf are these South Dakota Values?

  13. All Mammal 2023-06-01 07:34

    She should have put some of that fat stack she spent on tourism advertisements into neato branding for our state schools instead. God, KN is the antithesis of a mover and a shaker. She is a layabout. And we hired her.

  14. Bonnie B Fairbank 2023-06-01 09:19

    According to The Great, Godly, and Glorious John Thune, South Dakota Values are…:”the work ethic, the commitment to freedumb coupled with the belief in personal responsibility, the sense of responsibility to the broader community.” May 26, 2022

    With the exception of (almost all) the contributors to this site, South Duhkoduhns value bigotry, cruelty, hatred, ignorance, stupidity, cruelty, selfishness, viciousness, cruelty, superstition, thoughtlessness, cruelty, mendacity, and cheapness. They really value cruelty; shooting every varmint on their “propitty,” purposely running over animals, bullying their Indian classmates, mocking coworkers who give to The United Way, beating children and torturing pets.

    To quote other contributors, we’re Northern Mississippi.

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