Letter to the Editor graphic

I attended the Aug. 27 Auburn University Senate meeting to see if Interim President Jay Gogue would live up to his well-earned repute of rarely missing Senate meetings and taking questions from those present. I was not disappointed.

Jay indeed showed and opened the floor to questions.  It was a welcomed breath of fresh air after these past years of Steven “Crash” Leath’s stewardship. I did not ask my prepared question because it is well known I did my best to sound the alarm on how poor a ‘public servant’ Leath showed himself to be at Iowa State, sorting to the top of our very flawed search process.

As the two questions asked by faculty were more than enough to set the tone, another from this former lowly instructor seeking if AU is worthy of return would’ve seemed "piling on" to most present.

The first question was submitted by Prof. Robin Jaffe (theater) on AU moving forward with the $100 million Culinary Arts facility, which appeared to have already exceeded initial budget proposals. Gogue said he did not know the answer. He didn’t recall it as an agenda item for the next Board of Trustees meeting but would look into it.

The second question was submitted by Prof. Michael Stern (economics) after a kind-hearted exchange on how Jay had missed Stern’s input at Senate meetings elicited genuine laughter. Stern noted how important/well-received it was for the president to personally visit every academic unit when Jay first took the job back in 2007 and asked if he would be willing to do so again. Without hesitation Jay agreed, which prompted approving applause.

Lack of communication between faculty and the president was one of the more visible areas of dysfunction during Leath’s short, yet well-paid tenure.  If this first Senate meeting under Jay’s renewed leadership is any guide, then a far healthier level of communication is undergoing rapid restoration. The return of positive engagement between the president and oft outspoken Stern was indeed refreshing. 

Even more encouraging were other faculty members already comfortable enough to engage Gogue over something like the $100 million ‘kitchen’ planned to leverage massive amounts of taxpayer and student dollars to subsidize Jimmy Rane’s desires and obsessions. Some say this puts AU in unnecessary jeopardy.

Public criticism of this sort was followed by retaliation during the Leath years if recent First Amendment lawsuits filed in the federal courts naming him as a defendant are any indicator. At the moment, Gogue’s return has encouraged the meek and brave to voice their distress with the current state of their university.

Communication and exchange of information is certainly not the equivalent of corrective action; it is an input to navigate back toward a productive course. Welcome back to the helm Jay. You’ve been missed by those who want AU to be a place of humble and effective coaches, educators and researchers instead of coercive, overpaid administrators.

In closing, forgive this letter if it was covered and I missed it. Made me long for the days when I would look for Jacque Kochak’s reporting on the Board and Senate meetings. As for my ‘premeditated’ unasked question for Jay — is there any discussion on the search process to determine our 20th President? If it is the same flawed process as our last, is it rational to expect any better result?

I prefer Jay NOT get another call interrupting his fly fishing to come clean up another crash landing into Samford Hall.


John P. Sophocleus

Beauregard, Alabama


Knowing stroke symptoms, treatment


People in my Sunday school class asked me to tell them about symptoms of strokes and treatment; perhaps others will find the list helpful.

The day my loved one had his stroke, about five years ago, he was outside talking to a repair man when his leg buckled under him. My husband’s main symptom was not one of the first three “Act FAST” symptoms cited by the National Stroke Association. It’s a good idea to keep the list of symptoms on the side of your refrigerator.



F-Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

A-Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S-Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?

T-Time: If you observe any of these symptoms, call 9-11 immediately.

My husband’s main symptom was number four in this list:

SUDDEN numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg-especially on one side of the body. 

His leg had buckled. Also, he was losing his ability to write legibly.

SUDDEN confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.

SUDDEN trouble seeing in one or both eyes.

SUDDEN trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.

SUDDEN severe headache with no known cause.

If you observe someone having one or more of these symptoms, DO NOT drive to the hospital if you can call an ambulance. Treatment will begin immediately in the ambulance. The ambulance driver is trained to drive under stress; you’re not. ALSO, NOTE WHAT TIME THE SYMPTOMS APPEARED. THIS IS IMPORTANT.

According to the Mayo Clinic’s website on strokes, emergency treatment depends on whether you’re having the most common kind (ischemic) where a clot blocks an artery, or a hemorrhagic stroke — one that involves bleeding into the vein.

Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), a potent clot-busting drug is considered the gold standard treatment for strokes caused by clots. It needs to be given ASAP, ideally within three hours, according to Mayo’s.

My husband was fortunate. I called my daughter, a cardiac nurse, and the three of us decided to ask for tPA to be given, even though the ER doctor was not encouraging us to do so, possibly because of risk of death if there is misdiagnosis, plus this was over five years ago. This drug cannot be given for a hemorrhagic stroke. 

My husband was connected by SKYPE with a neurologist who looked at his symptoms and gave the go ahead, urging, “Time is of the essence,” she said. “Get the show on the road!”

If you’re having a hemorrhagic stroke and are on a blood-thinner, you may need drugs or transfusions to counteract the blood thinner’s effects. Mayo’s says bleeding must be controlled and pressure reduced in the brain.

My husband was fortunate and lucky.  After receiving tPA, he soon went home with no symptoms of having had a stroke. He enjoys meeting friends for coffee anytime.


Margaret N. Wright, RN (retired)

Auburn, Alabama

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