Archive for Friday, February 9, 1996


February 9, 1996


Kansas University on Thursday refused a student's request to make public student evaluation forms of faculty.

The student, Scott Sullivan, said he probably will file a lawsuit against the university or ask the Legislature for help. Sullivan had filed a formal request to make the evaluation results public under the Kansas Open Records Act.

"I'm really left with little choice but to file a lawsuit," he said. "I think we've got a good chance that we can find an attorney that will take it on a pro bono basis."

KU denied the request to open access to the records because it claimed they were personal documents.

However, the university did agree to to open all records that outline how the evaluation forms are used and who uses them.

KU's response was delivered in a letter signed by University Administrator Dick Mann, Sullivan said.

"The bottom line is they didn't grant the most important part," Sullivan said.

"I think this puts the university in an awkward position," he said. "The arguments to keep these evaluations private are either arrogant or shallow."

Students fill out the forms anonymously each semester. Faculty evaluation forms are used by KU promotion and tenure committees when considering raises and promotions for faculty members.

Sullivan, a student senator, has argued that students should be able to see the evaluations to help them determine which professors are effective teachers.

The Student Senate also passed a resolution stating that the evaluations should be open.

But Sullivan's request was filed on his own.

Faculty evaluations at other universities, including Harvard, Michigan State and the University of Texas, are open to students.

Sullivan has not inquired with Atty. Gen. Carla Stovall's office about his request and KU's decision.

KU administrators could not be reached for comment Thursday.

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