Kansas Professors Protest New KBOR Termination Policy

Professors from numerous Kansas public universities are urging the rescinding of a new termination policy at Kansas Board of Regents institutions.

Reports say that earlier this year, the Kansas Board of Regents voted to ease requirements for state universities to suspend, dismiss or terminate employees, including tenured faculty members, without initiating the process of formally declaring a financial emergency.

Over 100 distinguished professors from Kansas universities joined together to lobby the Board of Regents to rescind its new policy and their letter can be read below:

“Dear Members of the Kansas Board of Regents,

We, the undersigned distinguished professors from Kansas Board of Regents universities, strongly urge the immediate rescinding of the KBOR’s new termination policy. We applaud Allison Garrett (Emporia State), Tisa A. Mason (Fort Hays State), Richard Myers (Kansas State), Steven A. Scott (Pittsburg State), and Richard Muma (Wichita State) for refusing to use the policy. It is harmful to our individual campuses and to the Regents system as a whole.

As Regent Shane Bangerter notes, these are indeed “extreme times.” The chronic underfunding of Kansas higher education has become suddenly acute. However, Regents universities already have a policy crafted specifically to address such extremity–declaring financial exigency allows universities to downsize in the face of financial emergency. In consultation with KBOR, each campus has already developed, via shared governance, the necessary procedures: these should be implemented if a campus determines that they are needed. Best practices for university management require transparency and proper procedure. 

To jettison best practices with this substitute policy not only reveals a lack of respect for each campus’ system of shared governance, it threatens long-term damage to the missions of each institution. It undermines the purpose of tenure, which is to allow faculty to pursue their scholarship without fear of repercussions. Academic freedom is the foundation upon which we build discovery, robust research, scholarship and creative activities. It also fosters an environment essential to recruiting and retaining excellent faculty in the future. Finally, the new policy undermines the morale of current staff and faculty at precisely the time when each campus needs extraordinary effort and resilience from them. 

Sincerely yours,

Christer B. Aakeröy, Chemistry, K-State

Christine Aikens, Chemistry, K-State

Perry Alexander, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, KU

Beth Bailey, History, KU

William A. Barnett, Economics, KU

Thomas J. Barstow, Kinesiology, K-State

Alice Bean, Physics and Astronomy, KU

  1. Christopher Beard, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, KU

Itzhak Ben-Itzhak, Physics, K-State

James D. Bever, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, KU

Raj Bhala, School of Law, KU

Monica Biernat, Psychology, KU

John Blair, Division of Biology, K-State

Frank Blecha, Anatomy and Physiology, K-State

George R. Bousfield, Biological Sciences, WSU

Nyla Branscombe, Psychology, KU

Yolanda Broyles-Gonzalez, American Ethnic Studies, K-State

Joyce Castle, Music, KU

M.M. Chengappa, Veterinary Medicine, K-State

  1. Lewis Cocke, Emeritus, Physics, K-State

Bernard Cornet, Economics, KU

David Darwin, Civil, Environmental & Architectural Engineering, KU

Lynne Davis, Music, WSU

Elizabeth Dodd, English, K-State

Walter Dodds, Biology, K-State

Jolynn A. Dowling, School of Nursing, WSU

Michael S. Engel, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, KU

Charles Epp, Public Affairs and Administration, KU

David Farber, History, KU

Victor S. Frost, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, KU

Randall Fuller, English, KU

Keith Gido, Biology, K-State

Bikram S. Gill, Plant Pathology, K-State

Richard Godbeer, History, KU

Robert Goldstein, Department of Geology, KU

Wayne Everett Goins, Music, K-State

John W. Head, Law, KU

Anne D. Hedeman, Art History, KU

Dale Herspring, Emeritus, Political Science, K-State

Stephen Higgs, Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology, K-State

Duy H. Hua, Department of Chemistry, K-State

Andrew C. Isenberg, History, KU

Ryszard Jankowiak, Chemistry, K-State

Hartmut Jaeschke, Pharmacology, Toxicology & Therapeutics, KUMC

Michael Kanost, Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, K-State

Barbara A. Kerr, Educational Psychology, KU

M.B. Kirkham, Agronomy, K-State

Kimberly Kirkpatrick, Psychological Sciences, K-State

Phillip E. Klebba, Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics, K-State

John F. Leslie, Plant Pathology, K-State

Richard E. Levy, Law, KU

Susan Lunte, Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, KU

Rolfe Mandel, Anthropology, KU

Richard Marston, Emeritus, Geography, K-State

Subbaratnam Muthukrishnan, Emeritus, Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics, K-State

TG Nagaraja, Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology, K-State

Joane Nagel, Sociology, KU

Philip Nel, English, K-State

David Nualart, Mathematics, KU

Randolph J. Nudo, Rehabilitation Medicine, KUMC

Berl Oakley, Molecular Biosciences, KU

Rosemary O’Leary, School of Public Affairs and Administration, KU

Dennis H. O’Rourke, Anthropology, KU

Anil Pahwa, Electrical and Computer Engineering, K-State

  1. Townsend Peterson, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, KU

William D. Picking, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, KU

David C. Poole, Kinesiology, Anatomy and Physiology, K-State

P.V. Vara Prasad, Agronomy, K-State

Harald E.L. Prins, Emeritus, Anthropology, K-State

Bharat Ratra, Physics, K-State

Charles W. Rice, Agronomy, K-State

Mabel L. Rice, Child Language Doctoral Program, KU

Dan Rockhill, Architecture & Design, KU

David Roediger, American Studies, KU

Robert Rohrschneider, Political Science, KU

Chistophe Royon, Physics and Astronomy, KU

Christian Schoneich, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, KU

Paul Selden, Emeritus, Geology, KU

Prakash P. Shenoy, Business, KU

James E. Sherow, Emeritus, History, K-State

Tom Skrtic, Special Education, KU

  1. Michael Smith, Entomology, K-State

Yan Soibelman, Mathematics, K-State

Steven A. Soper, Chemistry, KU

Christopher Sorensen, Physics, K-State

Paulette Spencer, Mechanical Engineering, KU

Brian S. Spooner, Biology, K-State

  1. G. Sterrett, Philosophy, WSU

Sandra M. Stith, Emeritus, Applied Human Sciences, K-State

Xiuzhi Susan Sun, Grain Science and Industry, K-State

Karan S. Surana, Mechanical Engineering, KU

Uwe Thumm, Physics, K-State

Barbara Valent, Plant Pathology, K-State

  1. Douglas Walker, Geology, KU

Stephen Ware, Law, KU

Steven F. Warren, Speech, Language, Hearing Sciences and Disorders, KU

Robert Warrior, American Studies and English, KU

Mary A. Waters, English, WSU

Ruth Welti, Biology, K-State

Robert E. Weems, Jr., Business History, WSU

Yong Zhao, Education, KU

Kun Yan Zhu, Entomology, K-State

Dean Zollman, Emeritus, Physics, K-State”

The Kansas Board of Regents oversees seven public institutions in Kansas including the University of Kansas, Kansas State University, Wichita State University, Emporia State University, Fort Hays State University, Pittsburg State University and Washburn University.