Archive for Saturday, December 4, 1999

FORMER REGENTS DIRECTOR LEAVES FOR K-STATE

December 4, 1999

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Christine Crenshaw is leaving the Board of Regents office for job at Kansas State University.

The woman whose gender-bias complaint led to unprecedented criticism of the Kansas Board of Regents is leaving the board's central office for a position at Kansas State University.

Christine Crenshaw, associate director of fiscal affairs for the regents, has accepted a position as associate director of undergraduate admissions at KSU, university officials said Thursday.

An official announcement of Crenshaw's appointment was expected today.

Crenshaw was director of student financial aid for the board from 1991 until her title was changed as part of a reorganization of the board office this summer. Her duties and salary remained the same after the reorganization.

In October, legislators openly criticized the board for Crenshaw's title change and seeming demotion. They particularly criticized regents for undertaking the reorganization before a survey of pay equity in the board office. Legislators said that action violated promises made by the regents when their nominations were approved this summer.

Crenshaw was selected after a national search, said Larry Moeder, KSU director of admissions and student financial assistance.

"Her experience on the financial aid side and on admissions will be nothing but beneficial," Moeder said.

KSU President Jon Wefald said he was told Crenshaw was one of the applicants for the open position about four weeks ago as the search committee considered applicants and conducted interviews.

"If they're comfortable with her and think we should hire this person, that's fine with me," Wefald said.

"I know people here at K-State think the world of her," he said. "If she wants to come here, that would be most pleasing to me."

Crenshaw was assistant director of student financial assistance at K-State from 1986 through 1991. She lives near Manhattan. She will replace Barbara Dawes, who retired in September. When Dawes held the position, it paid $45,580.

Crenshaw was unavailable to comment on her appointment; Regents Executive Director Kim Wilcox declined to comment on Crenshaw's departure.

What effect Crenshaw's move will have on her gender-bias complaint with the Kansas Human Rights Commission against the regents wasn't immediately clear.

Crenshaw's attorney Kirk Lowry of Topeka could not be reached for comment Thursday.

The gender-bias complaint is being mediated for the Human Rights Commission by Midland Mediation Service. Regents met privately for nearly two hours Tuesday discussing Crenshaw's complaint. At times they met with the mediators working on the matter.

Crenshaw's departure removes one of the goals she set for resolving the matter. Lowry had said she wanted her title of director restored in addition to back pay of as much as $20,000 a year for eight years, punitive damages of as much as $300,000, plus attorney fees.

In her complaint, Crenshaw claimed she was paid as much as $20,000 less than male directors in the board office because of her gender. Her salary at the board is $55,000. She wrote a series of memos in 1998 and 1999 depicting what she described as a pattern of underpayment of women in the board office.

Lowry described Crenshaw's title change in the reorganization as a retaliatory demotion for her complaint with Human Rights Commission.

-- Erwin Seba's phone message number is 832-7145. His e-mail address is eseba@ljworld.com.

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