Archive for Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Haskell concern

The Kansas congressional delegation should move quickly to try to remedy leadership questions at Haskell Indian Nations University.

March 3, 2010

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It’s good that members of the Kansas delegation in Congress are continuing to press for answers concerning the unsettled situation at Haskell Indian Nations University.

Having received no response to an October letter to the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs, Sen. Pat Roberts, along with Sen. Sam Brownback and Reps. Lynn Jenkins and Dennis Moore, announced Tuesday that they had sent a letter outlining their concerns about Haskell to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

It’s high time that federal officials address the Kansans’ concerns. During the four months Roberts was stonewalled and awaiting a response from BIA, rumors and accusations have been flying concerning what appears to be a rapidly deteriorating situation at Haskell. As part of his October letter, Roberts forwarded a letter from a former Haskell vice president who alleged mismanagement of personnel, ethics violations and other problems at the school. Why such problems seemed unworthy of a timely response from federal officials is a mystery. Perhaps some at Haskell were involved in delay tactics.

Haskell President Linda Warner was reassigned last September to the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute in Albuquerque, N.M., then sent to a temporary assignment in Oklahoma City. Although she retains the title of president at Haskell, she hasn’t been on the job in Lawrence for about six months.

During that time, her duties have been handled by others, including Venida Chenault, who was named Haskell’s acting president. Chenault told the Journal-World Tuesday that although funding for Haskell had been flat for the past decade, “we’re using limited resources efficiently and effectively to meet the needs of tribal people.”

Despite her reassurances, the congressional delegation remains concerned that there appears to be no clear line of authority at Haskell or the Bureau of Indian Education and that “the resulting lack of leadership has caused chaos and confusion to the detriment of HINU employees and the students.” Their perception of chaos and confusion at Haskell is supported by an outpouring of accusations and displeasure on various local Web sites.

The current situation is taking a toll at this important school. Haskell isn’t simply standing still; it is moving backward. Accreditation visits that were canceled by a Haskell employee for two new bachelor degree programs last year are just one indication of the school’s regression.

Haskell plays an important role in Lawrence and an even more important role among American Indian tribes throughout the nation. Sorting out the current situation, ensuring the return of strong leadership at the school and focusing on programs and academic excellence to prepare students for career opportunities are essential to Haskell being able to move forward again. The Kansas delegation shouldn’t wait four months for an answer from Salazar. Haskell needs help now.

Comments

geekin_topekan 5 years, 2 months ago

One thing that the old Haskell "lifers" seem to be unable to adjust to is the idea that as a university, they are accountable to the students and are servants to the students as opposed to their guardians like during the boarding school/juco days. They are expected to provide services to the students and allow the students to have a say-so in their college experience, which is what a university does. However, the students and staff now demand more of the Haskell oldsters and they are seriously put out. They would rather work half days for full time taxpayer funded checks and pensions and answer to no one. I say this based on my personal assessments whcih could be wrong. But who knows? Maybe three off campus meetings per week were why some staff could never be found. It could happen.

anon1958 5 years, 2 months ago

The congressional delegation is moving too slow. They need to be very aggressive or the will continue to be stonewalled.

reserveseating 5 years, 2 months ago

Ok lets see hmm who is the one crying foul play here. Venida Chenault, because she wants more pay and with less duties. Typical greed is the way I see it. What about education needs for those who are serious about learning shouldnt that be the focus instead of who is not where other people want them to be at all times. With technology these days The current President, not acting, should be able to do work from China, its her suboordinates who seem to be lacking in their jobs. And to think they have a business program there.

snowing 5 years, 2 months ago

If Senator Pat Roberts had not stepped in there would be no more Haskell. As it is there still might not be a Haskell, maybe if they hurry and bring back Dr.Warner back ( that is if she will come back ) and give her the authority that she needs to make Haskell a real university, she can still save it. She certainly has the knownledge, education and experiance.....she knows what she is doing and if the Haskell employees can't respect her and do what she tells them to do then they need to be immediatly fired. ENOUGH is ENOUGH.

gobiggold 5 years, 2 months ago

Sounds like Chenault-White needs to retire. When I was at HINU, you had all the stank Indians working there forming more cliques than the students. BIE needs to put a man in charge and stop lettting the Queen rule.

drillsgt 5 years, 2 months ago

chenault loves to listen to some employees who just retired on who should be put in what jobs, who should be in charge,,,and well enough,,,,The sports programs employees who go and get grants for haskell are told ..it;s not way i want haskell to go...why does she think shes speaks for native students and tribes....she does not speak for me...as a student I know that this week will be a very tense week..but i think that venida should get out before she is fired.....All the problems are gonna come out and some certain people who just retired are going to be pulled into this too...just wait and see...all i have to do is sit in the snack bar, in the lobby of the dorm and around the post office and i will hear everything.......and thank you to the counselor in the dorm ..she loves to talk.....

equalaccessprivacy 5 years, 2 months ago

Haskell is not the only university in Lawrence characterized by chaos and confusion and lack of capable leadership. University administrators and HR staff appear to be in a league of nastiness all of their own around here.

I have run into nothing but incompetence and dishonesty and non-existent professional standards with my own employer--not to mention insane vindictiveness.

equalaccessprivacy 5 years, 2 months ago

Haskell is not the only university in Lawrence characterized by chaos and confusion and lack of capable leadership. University administrators and HR staff appear to be in a league of nastiness all of their own around here.

I have run into nothing but incompetence and dishonesty and non-existent professional standards with my own employer--not to mention insane vindictiveness.

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