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NU needs all input on free-speech policies

The University of Nebraska is in the middle of stepped-up discussions about free speech on campus. The issue is a fundamental one for university life, deserving robust examination and input from all sides.

Some faculty members and two organizations — the Academic Freedom Coalition of Nebraska and the American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska — say some draft policies for NU buildings and grounds are too restrictive, failing to designate locations such as sidewalks and greenspaces as public spaces.

Such criticism serves a positive purpose. NU needs to take the concerns into consideration. And such input is, in fact, what NU leaders are encouraging. The discussion is still in the early stage, and input on the public-space issue is welcome and valuable.

Input from all sides is vital as the state's public university decides the best ways to move forward on the issue.

- Omaha World-Herald

Prioritize public transit boost

Currently, Grand Island has a fleet of vehicles that pick people up as they call for a ride and take them where they need to go. But the question has been whether this type of public transportation is adequate for Hall County, with a population of more than 22,000 households, including 1,370 households that have no vehicles.

A report provided to the City Council detailed a "Fiscally Constrained Plan" that calls for maintaining the status quo but adding van pool services and a ride share program. It also recommends a planning study for intercity bus service to and from Kearney and Hastings.

The report estimated an annual transit need of 863,100 rides in Hall County and said the current system is only meeting 4 percent of that need.

Four percent is not where Hall County should be. The City Council must prioritize it and carry through.

- Grand Island Independent

KORUS pact a win for Nebraska ag

Recently, our state's farmers and ranchers have been anxious about the potential negative consequences of imposing tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.

Agricultural products often are the pawns of international trade wars. In that regard, Nebraska farmers have a lot to lose if the steel and aluminum tariffs backfire and foreign trade partners cut off their dealings in crops and livestock from our state.

Thankfully, the United States-Republic of Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) will continue into the future, even though Trump had withdrawn the United States from the agreement.

That's terrific financial news for Nebraska's farmers and ranchers. The KORUS agreement was worth roughly $340 million to our state in terms of total ag exports in 2016, according to the Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation. To put the numbers into a more personal perspective, the KORUS agreement is worth $34.35 cents per-head to Nebraska beef producers and $11.52 cents per-head for the state's pork producers.

- Kearney Hub


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