Your daily dose of news, notes and links from around Kansas University.
• Oh, Osceola, Mo. Where to begin?
As reported by the Columbia Daily Tribune, the Board of Aldermen in the town of about 850 people decided they ought to pass a resolution. They say that KU ought to drop the name “Jayhawk,” and stop associating itself with “a group of domestic terrorists.”
It harkens back, apparently, to a Civil War-era raid that leveled the town in 1861, led by U.S. Sen. Jim Lane and his band of “Jayhawkers.” The hilarious resolution also calls on residents of the town to stop capitalizing “kansas” and “kU” as “neither is a proper name or a proper place.”
Osceola resident Rick Reed brought the resolution before the board.
“I don’t expect them do anything,” he told the newspaper. “They are so arrogant and uppity.”
And here are some Heard on the Hill mad props to Jill Jess, a KU spokeswoman, who offered this dandy response to the whole mess:
“A Jayhawk is a blue bird with a red head and a big, yellow beak that wears boots. It would be hard to confuse it with anyone with terrorist intent, though we admit we have been terrorizing the Tigers on the basketball court for some time. Tigers have been known to kill people. Bears, too.”
Um, Osceola? If you’re going to start changing mascot names, I can think of a few reasons you might want to start with your high school.
• A tipster (whose name I am reasonably certain is not the “Abraham Lincoln” that was on his email) sent me some stuff yesterday, and mentioned that he was concerned with the way Kansas State University markets itself to potential students.
I said I was largely concerned with KU matters, but he did bring something up that’s always kind of made me scratch my head about Kansas State. So if you’ll forgive me, I’ll go ahead and get this off my chest.
They tout they are “second in the nation among all 500 state universities” since 1986 in Rhodes scholar awardees.
Here it is, in case you don’t believe me.
Kansas State students have won 13 Rhodes scholarships, But here’s the thing, as the Rhodes website points out. Rhodes scholarships aren’t a national competition. Until just a few years ago, your odds of becoming a Rhodes scholar varied from state to state. Your chances in a state like Kansas were much better than your chances in a state with a whole bunch of colleges, like Pennsylvania, for example. So historical national comparisons are a little silly.
In case you’re wondering, KU has had 25 Rhodes scholars, and the university’s typical line in press releases in recent years has been “KU students have received more Rhodes scholarships than at all other Kansas colleges and universities combined.”
However, Kansas State can legitimately claim that it has, since 1986 (when it started winning scholarships at a higher rate), won more scholarships than KU. The purple people are winning in that category, eight to four.
• Colleges across the country are paying more for, well, just about everything, it seems.
The Higher Education Price Index — a kind of inflation rate for colleges — went up this week, to 2.3 percent, reports the Chronicle of Higher Education.
The newspaper reported that utility costs (tied to oil and gas prices) rose sharply, going from minus-9.5 percent last year to 4 percent this year.
The highest-weighted factor, faculty salaries, remained steady.
This is a closely watched figure, and schools use it a lot. The Kansas Board of Regents, for example, is asking for an increase in state funding for schools that corresponds with the rate.
As is frequently the case (and I’m sure university leaders love to remind state legislators of this), the HEPI rose faster than the Consumer Price Index this year.
• The best way to get Heard on the Hill mad props is to submit your tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.