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KSU Won’t Rehire Controversial Professor

Associated Press - October 13, 2014 10:47 am

Kansas State University says it will not renew the contract of a professor who conducted controversial research on grassland burning.

Research associate Gene Towne says he believes his 26-year career will end Oct. 31 because he suggested in a published article that ranchers could burn grassland at times other than April. For years, the university has said spring, especially late April, was the best time for grassland burning to revive the prairie.

Biology Division administrator John Blair said Towne’s contract was not renewed because of budget issues. Blair also said Towne lacked technical skills and his research project did not meet accepted standards.

For decades, Kansas State has used the Konza Prairie as a laboratory for research into methods of managing fire.

Associated Press information from: The Topeka Capital-Journal