Archive for Saturday, April 9, 2005

KU dean fired on heels of investigation

April 9, 2005

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Kansas University officials have fired Richard Johnson, who has served as dean of students since March 2001.

The termination follows an internal investigation after the university received a formal complaint about Johnson on March 30, said Lynn Bretz, a university spokeswoman. She declined to give the nature of the complaint but said it related to inappropriate behavior.

Richard Johnson has served as KU's dean of students since March
2001.

Richard Johnson has served as KU's dean of students since March 2001.

"The dean of students is a role model for students who attend the university," Bretz said. "He must be above reproach and be professional at all times."

Bretz said Johnson, who also held the title associate vice provost for student success, was placed on administrative leave with pay March 31. He was informed of his firing Friday morning.

Johnson did not return a phone message seeking comment Friday afternoon.

"If you're asking whether we were surprised to receive a complaint against him, yes we were," Bretz said. "We were surprised and disappointed. It was regrettable the termination of his employment was necessary. We had to take the action we did."

Frank DeSalvo, director of Counseling and Psychological Services, was named interim dean of students. DeSalvo has been at KU since 1991.

Bretz said no time line had been identified for hiring a new dean of students.





"This is a difficult time of transition," she said. "Our No. 1 priority is to get through the end of the semester and continue to provide students with the best possible services and leadership opportunities."

As dean of students, Johnson was paid $102,985 and oversaw the Student Involvement and Leadership Center, Legal Services for Students, Office of Multicultural Affairs, Emily Taylor Women's Resource Center, Recreation Services and the Department of Student Housing.

He also was the staff member serving as adviser to Student Senate and the Homecoming Steering Committee. Steve Munch, student body president, did not return phone calls seeking comment. Adam Sechrist, homecoming co-chairman, declined to comment and said he'd already directed other homecoming committee members not to talk to the press.

As associate vice provost for student success, he oversaw the Student Involvement and Leadership Center, Legal Services for Students, Office of Multicultural Affairs, Multicultural Resource Center, Emily Taylor Women's Resource Center, KU Recreation Services, and the Department of Student Housing. His office coordinated the campus crisis intervention program and the non-academic misconduct program.

Johnson came to KU from the University of Missouri, where he was assistant to the vice chancellor for student affairs. At MU, he served in a role similar to the one he assumed at KU and was a liaison with academic departments.

He also was a residence hall director, director of multicultural affairs and assistant to the vice president for student affairs at the University of Vermont, where he received his doctoral degree.

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