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Archive for Saturday, January 24, 2009

With KU budget options, ‘everything is on the table’

Job security, benefits, workload at issue

Chris Anderson, associate professor of business at Kansas University, addresses a question to a panel during a legislative forum at KU. Faculty and staff were invited to question Chancellor Robert Hemenway and other KU officials about budget issues.

Chris Anderson, associate professor of business at Kansas University, addresses a question to a panel during a legislative forum at KU. Faculty and staff were invited to question Chancellor Robert Hemenway and other KU officials about budget issues.

January 24, 2009

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With KU budget options, ‘everything is on the table’

KU's financial future took center stage on Friday during a forum on campus. Enlarge video

Kansas University leaders faced more than 100 faculty and staff members Friday in an effort to open a dialogue about ongoing state budget cuts.

Members of the crowd expressed concern about job security and benefits during an hourlong forum in the Kansas Union.

They also pondered what the recent job cuts would mean for their workloads. On Wednesday, KU announced that 11 staffed positions and 110 unstaffed positions would be eliminated.

Chancellor Robert Hemenway replied “everything is on the table” for future cuts if necessary. For now, he said employee benefits shouldn’t change.

Despite the state budget crisis, Hemenway said KU would continue to focus on its academic and research missions.

“We’re not going to be brought down to a state of total disarray because we’ve had to make some hard decisions,” Hemenway said.

Steve Warren, vice provost for research and graduate studies, said KU would be affected by the $32 million in funding cuts to the Kansas Bioscience Authority. That’s because it provides funding for KU research.

Besides the personnel cuts, Hemenway said KU expected to save about $9 million by being more efficient. That includes efforts such as producing the faculty and staff newsletter online only, turning down thermostats and reducing travel budgets.

Pam Burkhead, an employee in human relations, attended the forum, and said she appreciated university leaders discussing the situation and dispelling any rumors circulating among its employees.

“I appreciate them taking the time to do it,” she said. “They’re trying to battle the budget and work hard to keep us sane.”

The meeting on the Lawrence campus comes on the heels of a similar meeting this week at KU Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan., with administrators and faculty. Leaders answered the handful of questions given by the crowd or sent by e-mail.

Often, leaders said they simply lacked the knowledge of what the Legislature would do next to provide specific answers to questions.

Comments

Thinking_Out_Loud 5 years, 2 months ago

hawkperchedatriverfront wrote "Let's bring back the draft...."No, let's not.

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hawkperchedatriverfront 5 years, 2 months ago

I doin;t believe anyone will ever see me write that taxes should be higher. IN fact, the first 20,000 everyone earns should be exempt of social security, federal and state withholding. Take the whole check home, spend it as you like and everyone who owns what is known as a small business ends the paperwork hassle. Pay cash, take the cash and do with it whatever. Put the US back on track.

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Pogo 5 years, 2 months ago

The U.S.A. is already, essentially, a nation of "ditch diggers"....or at least the majority of us are.....perhaps the ditch we are assigned to dig is not earthen, but dig the bulk of us do while Mr. Charlie sits up in the big house and drinks iced tea.The University of Kansas is, in many ways, the "big house" ....not to be confused with a different "big house" where most of the money grubbers need to be living....gccs14r (Anonymous) says… You would have us be a nation of ditch-diggers.

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Phillbert 5 years, 2 months ago

hawkperchedatriverfront: "I am with yourworstnightmare. $50,000 a year is sufficient for anyone to live on." I look forward to seeing your letters in the paper calling for a 100% tax on all income above $50,000.

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davidsmom 5 years, 2 months ago

Does KU have an online suggestion box for ways to save money? I work at UMKC and we have one...at least they are willing to take a look at employees' ideas and find out what the employees are thinking...however, Gov. Nixon announced that higher ed. in MO wouldn't be cut this upcoming fiscal year if they promised not to raise tuition and required fees. Maybe Kansas and KU need to look at what their neighbors are doing...

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gccs14r 5 years, 2 months ago

You would have us be a nation of ditch-diggers. It's far better to have an educated workforce that can create tools to dig ditches, or even better, make ditches superfluous. For better or worse, we now compete directly and on equal footing with everyone else on this planet for a basic livelihood. The only way forward is through improved education. Most people understand that, but apparently not all Americans do.

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hawkperchedatriverfront 5 years, 2 months ago

hey, if "those who teach our children are second only to parents in importance to the success of society" then my beliefs have just been confirmed by gccs14r. We have some lousy parents and time for them to be taught.Let's bring back the draft, take the parents and the kids and teach them how to dress. Teach them how to get out of bed and make it. Teach them , some manners, teach them that they can do work with their hands. Teach them that they can think for themselves. Or continue the same path and have the teachers continue telling them that they are victims, That they can all be computer geniuses, that they need more education, and at the same time perpetuate the job of the professor who in many cases now believes they are the smartest on earth and "entitled.gccs14r, understand, that the blue collar worker Pogo speaks of works often 7 days a week, 10hours a day. You see, they need two jobs to pay taxes to support the professors. Professors need to understand where their pay comes from, just as the city workers and school district workers need to understand.Lawrence has some poorly educated public employees.It is time for that education process to take place. Job loss!

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gccs14r 5 years, 2 months ago

Most of you have no idea what you're talking about, but that's not atypical. You see a class schedule and think a professor is working six hours a week. You don't see that they're actually working 10 hour days, often seven days a week, 12 months out of the year. You see an average faculty salary figure and forget that Hemenway and his staff are considered part of the faculty, skewing the average, and that there is a huge difference between science faculty pay and arts and humanities pay. You see academic conferences and research travel, but don't know that the professors pay for most of that out of pocket. As a final point, those who teach our children are second only to parents in importance to the success of society. As a nation, we're already far behind academically. Reducing our commitment to education will only make that situation worse.

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hawkperchedatriverfront 5 years, 2 months ago

Is there really a class titled Gay Women in Shakespearian Literature? That must be a new one. Old Karl Edwards taught a Shakespeare class and he never talked about that and he was an expert. He could call square dances too. He did point out that there was a lot of lust in Shakespeare. WE like his class.KU has an aerobics class that could be eliminated. Cut down the KU bus on campus and walking will eliminate that class.Get the Chancellor in a Prius and cut down on gas expense. PUt the classes on line and most students would stay in their apartments. After all, they go to class looking like they are still in bed,withtheir flip flops and pajama bottoms hangin off the crack of their butts.College is over rated, it really is. There are no manners in the classroom. The classrooms are littered with trash.What the Chancellor should do, if janitorial positions are cut is tell the professors that they need to arrive 15 minutes early, clean the floor in the classroom , bag the trash and wipe down the desks. How hard would that be?Strip some the arrogance from them!

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scootterxlch 5 years, 2 months ago

has anyone noticed that ll posts that refer to KU athletics get pulled asap.lets try it again the school should charge rent KU athleticsthey make tons of cash and hoard it none goes back to the shcoolplus the endowment is also hoarding cash and is not in line with the legal requirments for an endowment

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yourworstnightmare 5 years, 2 months ago

Most professors at KU do indeed teach large classes. However, there are some high-profile examples where this is not the case. Notably in the humanities, particularly English, where lecturers and grad students teach most of the big intro classes while the professors teach very small, specialized courses (e.g. Gay women in Shakespearian literature).Most of the natural and social sciences have professors teaching large intro classes as well as specialized classes.

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Shardwurm 5 years, 2 months ago

"Let the over paid administrators and the prima dona sacred cows within “academia” step forward and give back just as the blue collar citizen has done….."I'm with Pogo. The cost to retain these egos isn't worth it. Hell, most of them don't even teach their own classes anyway. They all should be wearing masks and carrying guns since they're robbing us blind. Higher Education is the biggest scam in the country, and it's getting to the point where middle-class families are going to have to pick one of their children to go to college because that is all they can afford to send.

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hawkperchedatriverfront 5 years, 2 months ago

I am with yourworstnightmare. $50,000 a year is sufficient for anyone to live on. Most "blue collar" workers I know of have never made that amount and will not. But they they managed to put their kids through school, buy a house, own several cars and still enjoy what few amentites Lawrence has to offer, and still have money to leave town for shopping and pleasure.The problem at KU, that isn't being revealed is how much has Hemenway been making and how much has his wife been making?It;'s a good thing my momma isn't around to tell them a thing or two. She would tell the Chancellor's wife to live on what he makes or he can live on what she makes. Either way, one of them need to do volunteer work and give up their job.These old people in their late 80s and 90s need to give some lectures and I think they would do it for free and kick butt. There is a lot of butt at KU and City Hall and USD 497 that needs to be kicked.

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yourworstnightmare 5 years, 2 months ago

KU should use this as an opportunity to cast off shiftless, lay-about faculty.Most KU faculty are dedicated and hard-working, but every department has "dead wood", faculty who do no research and little teaching, and what they do is done badly.Tenure allows these lazy-arses to suck on the university teat with giving nothing back. Tenured faculty can be fired based upon a continued history of underperformance.If salary cuts or position cuts are required, the janitorial and service staff should be spared. Every employee making over, say $50,000 a year should take a salary cut.

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hawkperchedatriverfront 5 years, 2 months ago

The bright spot in this is that those at KU who voted for more sales tax to support the T can now pay it with less pay. If the blue collar workers Pogo speaks of knew what some KU professors made along with retirement benefits and that their spouses are employed as well, they would have not much sympathy for KU.True,there are janitorial staff at KU who may get pay cuts. But as I once told an arrogant sob district manager connected with my former employer, when the company is in trouble and he wants to cut the positions and pay of the hourly workers, so be it. They will find another crummy hourly pay job. They did. He, I told him will have to find two or three to make what he was making.Well, guess what. By the time I left, I got a buyout and I made certain that he was gone. He got fired. Good Riddance.Don't ever underestimate the hourly worker who those at the top try to intimidate.Lawrence for too long has been intimidating the blue collar public, those who provide income from their taxes along with their employers to fund the over rated, over priced and not needed fluff in this town.Lawrence is not alone in the US. The time has come for reality to set in."AS for KU, it was built on a bluff and has been run on a bluff." And that my friends, comes from a professor emeritus.

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bennyoates 5 years, 2 months ago

PS, Pogo: Even you ought to know that it it'll be a cold day in Hades before the folks you call "Nobel Prize contenders" feel the pain of the budget cuts. It'll be underemployed adjuncts and lecturers who teach multiple sections of basic undergraduate courses, with low salaries, little if any office space, and scant benefits, often at more than one campus. These are blue collar workers, too, even if they don't get their hands dirty, and if you don't think that's the truth, try walking in their shoes for a week or two. I'm all for the people at or near the top making some sacrifices, especially if they're dead weight. But how likely is that?

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bennyoates 5 years, 2 months ago

If people like Pogo had their way, KU would be more like the Pinnacle Career Institute than a research university.Your posts are mostly about anti-intellectual resentments, not reality. Yes, KU has its prima donnas, as do all hierarchical institutions. But you use a broad, dirty brush to paint your distorted picture of faculty members who work hard and contribute positively to our state and society.What, I wonder, have YOU done to make Kansas and the US a better, smarter place lately?

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Pogo 5 years, 2 months ago

fu7il3:To an extent you are correct. However, the blue collar or other "classified" staff within KU elected to withdraw from Civil Service; turned their collective backs on other state workers by hiding behing "the gown"; and gave up their rights to collective bargaining. A clerk working for KU in all probability makes more money than a clerk working for another state agency, but doing the exact same thing.Howerver, our primary focus is not on the classifed staff (although there are too many....how many clerks are needed to sharpen pencils?) but on the unclassified staff and wanna be "Nobel Peace Prize Contenders.".

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fu7il3 5 years, 2 months ago

There are more blue collar citizens working at KU than any other place in town. There is a lot more to the university than administration and faculty.

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Pogo 5 years, 2 months ago

Just as auto workers and other members of the work force have willingly "given back" hard fought for pay and benefits in order to protect their jobs and to be more "in line" with the "going rate", so too should the arrogant and, up until now protected, members of the "university community" who are paid with state monies far more than they really command when work load (or more correctly, lack of workload) and other perks are taken into account. I mean, how many "vice provosts" does a joint need?Let the over paid administrators and the prima dona sacred cows within "academia" step forward and GIVE BACK just as the blue collar citizen has done.....

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Rickyonealku 5 years, 2 months ago

Things like newspapers aka news letters online are a very good move and like a lot of people I have had my office location in my house for over 6 years now trying to cut down on my office over head. The future employment could have some KU staffers paying out of pocket expenses just to stay employed. Things are going to get worse before they get better. You know part-time time employment is better than unemployed.

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