Archive for Friday, September 5, 2008

KU decides whistle will blow again

Just when you thought you'd heard the last of a century-old tradition at KU - on Friday, KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway has decided the steam whistle will return Monday.

September 5, 2008, 4:42 p.m. Updated September 5, 2008, 5:53 p.m.


KU Edition 2008

From artists to inventors, Kansas University is home to all kinds of people. In the past year, the university has opened new buildings and hosted world-renowned speakers. Come inside to learn more about the university on top of Mount Oread

Steamed alumni have made their voices heard: The whistle on the Kansas University campus will blow again.

KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway announced Friday afternoon that the whistle, which hasn't blown since the semester started, will begin blowing again on Monday.

KU spokeswoman Lynn Bretz said the Alumni Association, Endowment Association and several offices on campus had all heard from alumni, students and staff who were dismayed that a nearly century-old tradition of blowing a whistle at the end of a class had been discontinued for budget reasons.

"Jayhawk nation spoke, and we listened," she said.

The university is asking those who offered to pay to fund the whistle to make a donation to a university maintenance fund at This fund will be separate from ongoing efforts to seek donors for deferred maintenance projects.

KU estimates blowing the whistle costs as much as $7,000 per year.


pace 9 years, 7 months ago

I like the whistle, yes it was a ploy, but it would of been sad if the whistle was ended.

kansasplains 9 years, 7 months ago

Why don't you fire the man who made the decision!!!! It's just like the man who did not want the parade after the Jhawk win. It is not enough to institute re-blowing the whistle. These men NEED TO BE FIRED. They do not have an understanding of what KU means to the broader community.

SMe 9 years, 7 months ago

I think this is the third time the goofballs up on campus have tried to silence the whistle.Personally I think it's Hemmenway's idea to silence it - after all it is fairly close to his residence and we all know he has absolutely no concept of KU tradition.

BrianR 9 years, 7 months ago

ese (Anonymous) says:"What a bunch of spineless jelly fish."Yes, if they had spines, they'd have to rename them.

bluerose 9 years, 7 months ago

YEAH!!"KU estimates blowing the whistle costs as much as $7,000 per year."yeah. right. funny how it became $4000 more expensive in just a few days...

West_Sider 9 years, 7 months ago

What next...It takes $1,200 per year to light the campanile so we turning them off? What a joke.Whoever contributed to this is a sucker.

billbodiggens 9 years, 7 months ago

I think this is all a prelude to selling naming rights to the whistle which has been secretly assigned to the athletic department when no one was looking. They soon will impose a whistle serive fee to be tacked onto the tuition bill. The proceeds appropriately enough will be used to ensure the hiring of biased game officials. The conspiratorial aspects of the silent whistle are so vast as to defy imagination and explination.

thebigspoon 9 years, 7 months ago

Now thewhistlewillreallyBlow!Life is good

Bob Forer 9 years, 7 months ago

Hawkperched wrote: " The KU administrators are truly cousins of Pinnochio, they really are. No one should donate money to keep the whistle blowing now. If any money is donated it shoud go toard a whistle blowing fund to get rid of the administrators. How do they :"estimate" the cost of steam?_________Don't know whether or not you intended it, but if you did, the "whistle Blowing Fund" was a very clever double entendre. Regardless of your intented writing style, I agree with you. We need to fire the entire upper echelon of the KU administration for "high treason," "exaggerated sycophancy" and general incompetence. And then start from scratch.

TheOriginalCA 9 years, 7 months ago

ese (Anonymous) says: What a bunch of spineless jelly fish==================Does this make KU the Jelly Fishing Academy? Or the Chancellor Sponge Bob Hemenway?

George_Braziller 9 years, 7 months ago

Don't get me wrong. I love the steam whistle but what a cheap, pathetic fundraising stunt by the university. First it cost $3,000 a year to maintain it and now it costs $7,000? And then they tell people to make their donations to the Endowment fund?--------------------------------------------------------------------"The university is asking those who offered to pay to fund the whistle to make a donation to a university maintenance fund at This fund will be separate from ongoing efforts to seek donors for deferred maintenance projects.KU estimates blowing the whistle costs as much as $7,000 per year."-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Just use money from the deferred maintenance fund. Isn't it by definition what what it was intended for?

West_Sider 9 years, 7 months ago

Hey I wonder if Cheech and Chong, oops, I mean Mario Chalmers and Darrell Arthur put the $$ up to save the whistle?

denak 9 years, 7 months ago

Well, I am happy to hear this.I didn't really how much I associated the whistle blow with KU until I read that it was being silenced. I was very disappointed.Happy to see that they are going to reinstate it.Dena

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 9 years, 7 months ago

Nay to the cynicism expressed this day,steam whistle again blowing it away....

4thgencowgirl 9 years, 7 months ago

Wonderful, Wonderful, Wonderful. That truly makes my day. God Bless you all that appreciate tradition.

Bob Forer 9 years, 7 months ago

Marion, I rarely agree with you, but on this one, I think you made a perfect call.

jafo 9 years, 7 months ago

I think its awesome that the whistle will keep on blowin', you know there are some traditions that need to live on... regardless of ploy behind it all. I can hear it from where I live and I love to hear the whistle blow.

Sparko 9 years, 7 months ago

Sigh. We can build unusable practice facilities for several million dollars, and early 20th century steam devices are "too expensive." The whistle is a staple of K.U. It is one of the traditions that brought kids to the hill. I am not sure the whistle can't be manned and operated by volunteers. $7K sounds a bit steep. And yeah, it was an exorbitant $3K a couple of days ago. Maybe we should drill for oil under Watson Library.

beatrice 9 years, 7 months ago

"What a bunch of spineless jelly fish."As if one could be a spined jelly fish?

basil 9 years, 7 months ago

Damn. I was looking forward to being able to sleep in on my day off. Damn the alumni!

Lesta 9 years, 7 months ago

What a surprise...But the original decision to mothball the whistle is indicative of plain bad management. You'd figure someone in Strong Hall would've had the sense of mind to foresee the outcry from alums, students and residents...And I agree with bluerose...there must've been a major jump in the inflation rate this week to make the operating costs soar from $3K to $7K. Somehow, I missed that news.

morganalefay 9 years, 7 months ago

"No alum in their right mind would donate money for maintence, they really wouldn't and should not."If I recall correctly a whole bunch of people swore they would bust out their checkbooks and write checks for $50.00 - $3,000.00 to save the (stupid) whistle.Well?! Here's your chance! Everyone who pledged to donate money should do so right now - or just continue to be hypocrites and blow hot steam out their @$$*$!!!Jayhawk Nation to the rescue! You asked for the Return of the Whistle. Well, donate money to the maintenance fund and the whistle can continue to annoy me on a daily basis.Congratulations!

kusp8 9 years, 7 months ago

Wow, once again, I am finding myself agreeing with Marion...this is becoming a bad habit :-p.

Curtis Lange 9 years, 7 months ago

Yay! It'll be good to hear her again! Ploy to get money or not, the university heard from lots and lots of very unhappy Jayhawks!

Bruce Bertsch 9 years, 7 months ago

Some clarity. The whistle is not part of the steam heating system at KU. In fact, that system is currently not functional as they are rebuilding the tunnels that carry the steam. The cost was estimated at $3,000 and then, after analysis was pegged at closer to $7,000 per year. It will take $160,000 to "endow" the operation of the whistle permanently. Kansas Athletics, Inc. does pay rent to KU. In fact it pays for 1/3 of the entire parking department's budget in rents for the parking lots on game days. The AD also contributes $$$ to the endowment fund for non athletic scholarships, built the latest addition to the student rec center and then donated it to KU, and contributes to Cancer Research at KU Med. As for maintenance costs. The State is responsible for maintaining the buildings and infrastructure. The legislature typically funds less than 50% of the needed funds. Even the deferred maintenance bill passed two years ago funded less than 1/2 of the needed $$$ for repairs.

jackpot 9 years, 7 months ago

maybe the extra 4k is for the twins BB's. I heard on two casts the $3,000 amount.

ToriFreak13 9 years, 7 months ago

Some do not "estimate" the cost on the low end when determining if it will fit in the budget, let alone announce that figure as a "cry out" for attention...then change the price tag when a buyer steps up the plate.....this is an obvious scam....the whistle has been paid for time and is a part of helps those that fall asleep in class know it's time to go home...i think someone needs to be audited

kusp8 9 years, 7 months ago

In defense of the KU Facilities and Operations department I think somebody just guessed, or they were thinking per semester. I'm thinking it probably wasn't as big of a messup as it is being made out to be. However, if it was deliberate it was both brilliant and idiotic.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.