Archive for Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Haskell’s president, Chris Redman, leaving for job in Oklahoma

May 7, 2013, 1:48 p.m. Updated May 7, 2013, 3:59 p.m.


Chris Redman, the president of Haskell Indian Nations University, plans to resign soon to take another position in Oklahoma, he said in a message to students, faculty and staff Tuesday.



In a memo sent Tuesday afternoon, which Haskell shared with the Journal-World, Redman said he'd be moving closer to his family after being offered a new position.

"The choice was difficult for me," Redman wrote. "However, my wife and I both are at key points in our careers — she is beginning a career in nursing, and I have a great opportunity to continue to serve Indian Country in a new capacity."

The note contained no additional details about Redman's new job.

Haskell spokesman Stephen Prue said Redman and other officials would decline to comment beyond the memo, out of a desire not to draw attention away from Friday's commencement ceremonies. Prue said Haskell's Board of Regents is set to have a regular meeting later this week. "We want this week to be focused on our students and our graduation and not on Mr. Redman," Prue said.

The university will release further information after commencement, Redman wrote in his letter. He wrote that his memo was prompted by "a recent posting on a public forum" about his job status. A message on the Facebook page of the Haskell Indian Leader student newspaper earlier Tuesday reported the pending resignation.

Redman, 49, was named Haskell's president in June 2011. Before that, he served as acting president from December 2009 to March 2011.

He has worked for Haskell since 2008, after working in a variety of positions for the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Education Programs. He worked for the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, of which he is a member, before that. He lived in Ardmore, Okla., at the time he was hired as Haskell's president.

Redman became president after the university had faced questions from federal lawmakers and dissent among its faculty regarding its leadership. He said shortly after his hiring that he hoped to raise the university's graduation rates, which were around 26 percent with associate's degrees included.

"I value my time here at Haskell as well as the strides we have made to overcome obstacles and begin healing," Redman wrote Tuesday. "Haskell is and will always be a special place for me. I will continue to be a strong advocate for the university in my new role."

In September 2012, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics placed all of Haskell's athletics programs on probation through 2014 for "violations involving ineligible players." A 2011 report from the U.S. Department of Education, obtained by the Journal-World earlier this year, detailed instances of academic fraud in the school's athletics department between 2007 and 2010. Redman said employees had been disciplined, or were no longer employed at the university, because of issues outlined in the report.

Haskell is funded by about $13.8 million in annual federal appropriations, and it has about 220 faculty and staff. Enrolled this semester are about 840 students from 130 different tribes and 40 different U.S. states. Those students pay zero tuition, though they do pay a student fee each semester: $215 for students who live on the campus or $115 for those who live elsewhere.

As of late Tuesday afternoon, the Journal-World had been unable to reach the Bureau of Indian Affairs for further information or comment.


tolawdjk 4 years, 11 months ago

Didn't realize it was that bad.

4 to 1 Student to faculty/staff rate. Manages to eek out 26% graduation rate with a mostly 2 year program.

Costs a student less than a thousand dollars over two years.

How does this even begin to qualify as a measure of success?

Carol Bowen 4 years, 11 months ago

The ratio of faculty to staff is about 40 to 180. That's extreme too.

Carol Bowen 4 years, 11 months ago

"...around 26 percent with associate's degrees included." Haskell has both two year and four year degrees, but must report on the higher degree. In other words, none of the students who graduated with an associates degree would have been counted as graduates of the four year degree. It's a fluke in reporting. The 26% is inconclusive.

Carol Bowen 4 years, 11 months ago

Chuckle. I did not check out that link. Still, how the calculation was done is a puzzle. Most students drop out during the freshman year. How would they count those students? Against the associates degree or the baccalaureate degree?

The rate looks really low anyway. It would be interesting to read about minority graduation rates at other schools.

merickson 4 years, 11 months ago

I'll chime in for a second: My understanding of that 26 percent figure is that's how many students were earning an associate's degree OR a bachelor's degree.


Matt Erickson


Carol Bowen 4 years, 11 months ago

Matt, The number of graduates out of how many students? Do they separate the programs or do they use some overall total?

By the way, the paper does not include information from the online links. People who read hard copy do not get the whole story.

Bob Forer 4 years, 11 months ago

Haskell has never been know to be a well-run institution,. but if you folks had any clue as to the uphill battle faced by many Native Americans in climbing out of the worst poverty imaginable, chronic and rampant alcoholism, and terrible living conditions on many tribal reservations, perhaps you might understand the less than stellar statistics. .

Jeanette Kekahbah 4 years, 11 months ago

Look up treaty law in the u.s. constitution and tell me about how you think they might as well shut down upholding the supreme law of the land.

Haskell is a BIA institution that began as a boarding school...part of the genocide...with the motto 'kill the indian, save the man'. BIA (bureau of indian affairs) is under the BLM (bureau of land management). Perhaps you might understand the less than stellar statistics...

Carol Bowen 4 years, 11 months ago

Land management geography. Not in the administrative chain.

tolawdjk 4 years, 11 months ago

Oh I understand the history here. I work with tribes on a daily basis.

And I'm not advocating shutting it down.

However, once you win the first fight and get the kid off the rez. and get him into Haskell it still seems like its doomed to fail once he gets here. These numbers do not show that any meaningful success is achieved.

How do other mostly two year school's staffing to student ratio work out compared to this school? What this is saying that if every staff person was responsible for 4 kids coming in the door freshman year, only one will be walking out with a degree.

That's deplorable.

All of this fails to begin to touch on what seems to be the systemic disfunction of administration of that school.

Deb Engstrom 4 years, 11 months ago

Maybe only one in 4 walks out with a degree, but all 4 have been exposed to a different life off the rez and have gained some skills that they can fall back on later in life if they choose. Keep working on improving grad rates, but don't take away the opportunities.

TalkSense 4 years, 11 months ago

Before those of us whose ancestry is European get too sanctimonious about the success or failure of Haskell as an institution, perhaps we should ask what the Lawrence community could do to lend more encouragement and support to Haskell and its students. Perhaps we should ask whether a $13.8 million federal appropriation - with no state, tuition, research, or donor funding to supplement it - is adequate for the purpose of running a college whose entire student body is disadvantaged economically and dislocated culturally. Rather than complaining about Haskell from a distance - how many of its critics have visited the campus (other than the stadium) or met a student or faculty member? - perhaps we as a community should do something positive to help the situation.

erck85 4 years, 11 months ago

Academic achievement in Native communities is often a difficult issue at the K-12 level, much less the post-secondary. Because of this, the challenge that Tribal College (and to a lesser extent mainstream college professors) will face is stacked against them and the student.

In the state of Arizona alone, which is one of the highest Native populated states, Native students are disproportionately behind their non-Native counterparts in both Indian Education Act-Local Eduacation Agencies as well as non IEA-LEA agencies (AZ Dept of Ed, 2012).

This has never been a problem that one Haskell administrator can solve but at least if the campus is moving collectively towards the same goal it becomes easier to obtain. Now that much of the acrimony on Haskell campus has been diffused (as compared to the past 5-7 years), maybe Haskell's staff/faculty will re-find their collective vision?

Carol Bowen 4 years, 11 months ago

Haskell's administrative positions are part of a larger organization. It's not like a state university. Career ladders extend beyond Haskell within the BIA and access to all federal government positions. Not the best situation for a college and hard to comprehend for an academic setting.

Ben Bahe 4 years, 11 months ago

Although we paid only $215 per semester, our expense still goes up to nearly $4000 plus per semester. this includes buying our own books, school supplies, laptops, printers, pay wireless to access internet for homework's, study in dorm, personal stuff, we paid our own transportation's, gas, vehicle upkeep, etc. and We pay Taxes into Lawrence budget or economy. So all in not free. sorry to inform you of this.

frank mcguinness 4 years, 11 months ago

Before anyone complains about Haskell maybe you should look in the mirror and think about how you can support Haskell. I see 80% of Lawrence walking around with KU gear on all the time (even if you never went there), you go to KU games and support the University in other ways. How about you buy a Haskell T-Shirt, Go see some sports games, visit a Haskell Pow wow? We have one of the most iconic Native American institutions right here in our back yard where Olympic gold medalist Billy Mills attended, even the greatest athlete of the 20th century Jim Thorpe was at Haskell before it was a University. There is some incredible history and culture on that campus and many in this town have never even stepped foot on that campus except when LHS played there. Obviously Haskell has room for improvement and maybe just maybe you can do your part to support the school that is part of your community.

Carol Bowen 4 years, 11 months ago

Yes, Haskell is part of the community, but a very quiet part. Locals do go to pow wows and art shows, but what do Haskell folks do in the community. Do they participate in city events, local government, organizations?

Lawrence often supports Haskell, mostly because it is an important place. I would stop short of saying it is part of the community. Interaction is a two way street.

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