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Archive for Saturday, February 22, 2014

Democratic leader says Brownback wants Gray-Little gone; governor’s office says he does not

February 22, 2014

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Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley, of Topeka, said Friday that Gov. Sam Brownback is trying to pressure Kansas University Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little out of her position. Brownback’s office denied the allegation, as did the chairman of the Kansas Board of Regents.

“It is the role of the Kansas Board of Regents to evaluate the performance of university leadership. Neither the Governor or anyone on his behalf are working to remove the chancellor,” said Sara Belfry, a spokeswoman for the governor.

Hensley said he has heard from people “involved” with the Kansas Board of Regents who have told him the Brownback administration is upset with Gray-Little. He declined to identify whom he spoke with.

“I don’t know if the makeup of the regents right now is such that this would materialize, but I think in time as the regents change it is entirely possible that under this administration that they would try to make a move to remove her from that job,” Hensley said.

The nine-member Kansas Board of Regents oversees and coordinates the higher education system in Kansas and is in charge of hiring the chief executive officers of the six regents universities. Board members are appointed by the governor to four-year terms.

Regents Chairman Fred Logan called Hensley’s assertions “absolute hooey.”

Logan added, “I have talked to the governor about the chancellor, and he holds her in very high regard and has the utmost respect for the job that she has done. He likes Bernadette Gray-Little a lot and so there is just not even a shred of truth to that statement.”

Logan, who is one of six Brownback appointees to the board, added, “The Board of Regents holds her in extremely high regard.”

Gray-Little said she was confident she has the full backing of Brownback.

“I have met with Gov. Brownback many times. He has always been cordial and always supportive of the aspirations of the University of Kansas. We will continue to work together to improve higher education in the state,” she said.

Some conservative Republicans in the Legislature have criticized the management of KU over budget issues, and some have criticized KU for not firing journalism professor David Guth over a tweet he posted last year that harshly denounced the National Rifle Association.

Next week, legislative committees will work on the budgets of regents institutions, including KU.

“When all is said and done next week, on the Senate side, I think we’re going to see the University of Kansas take a big hit,” said state Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka, who has tried to defend KU’s budget proposals.

State Sen. Tom Arpke, R-Salina, declined to provide any advance details on how his education subcommittee would treat higher education. The subcommittee meets Tuesday.

Last year, Brownback signed into law cuts to higher education that totaled $13.5 million to KU.

This year, he has proposed restoring some of those cuts.

Earlier this week, Arpke told KU officials he was disappointed in the school’s graduation rate and that he wanted them to respond to a 2009 state audit that said universities could reduce costs by decreasing faculty, eliminating low-enrollment classes and consolidating departments.

And last week, KU suffered a setback before a House committee that rejected its bid for bonding authority to build an apartment building for basketball players and other students. The $17.5 million in bonds would have been paid back with private funds and revenue from the building. Later, KU officials withdrew the request.

Comments

Richard Heckler 10 months, 1 week ago

The greater majority Kansas voters are sick and tired of the Sam ALEC Brownback BIG GOVERNMENT administration and would love to have this administration removed ASAP. Tomorrow would NOT be soon enough.

The Big ALEC Government mentality that came in with Sam Brownback IS NOT conducive to American Democracy, Fiscal Conservative Principles, Principles of Social Responsibility nor does it display respect for the beliefs of others.

What we have is extreme right wing christian fundamentalism in bed with the John Birch Society.

Bob Indostruct 10 months, 1 week ago

Sounds like the same thing he wanted at the Turnpike last year.

Larry Sturm 10 months, 1 week ago

Brownback is so twofaced he would send his mother down the road onma moments notice.

James Nelson 10 months, 1 week ago

Will Rogers taught us to "not believe anything you hear and only half of what you see." Brownback has always talked a good game but when you come back later and see how it affected real people you find only the 1% benefited and at the expense of the poor and middle class.

My mother always said to formulate opinions of others not upon what they say but what they do. Actions speak much louder than words. Brownback will be going down this fall. It will be because enough Kansas voters will finally realize that they can no longer count on their republican party to represent them. A realization that only the wealthy are supported by the Kansas republican party will bring him down. They have become disenchanted with Sam's experiment with the Kansas economy.

I definitely support Sen. Hensley's theory that Brownback wants Gray-Little out as KU chancellor. Brownback doesn't want to see anyone stand up to him, even after he has ripped their hearts out budgetwise. He slit their budgetary throats this year and expects them to bow down. He tried to blackmail each state supported university head into backing tax increases upon the poor in order to get proper funding and then reneged on that. Tuition increases followed even though they were already killing lower and middle income families. Gray-Little needs to spit in his face when she next sees him. She won't though as she has too much class.

THIS GUY HAS TO GO!!!!!!!!!!!!

Steve Jacob 10 months, 1 week ago

Lots of hatred to Brownback on this and he did nothing. Anthony Hensley is the idiot in all of this.

Julius Nolan 10 months, 1 week ago

Does anyone other than tea drinkers believe anything Brownback says?

Andrew Stahmer 10 months, 1 week ago

Barbra Eden / Jeannie likes her, so I think we should keep her.

Maybe Sam made a comment that 'I Dream of Jeannie' wasn't his favorite show, or something like that, and it got twisted into him trying to get rid of the Chancellor...

MerriAnnie Smith 10 months, 1 week ago

Just curious. How do you post without a name? I'd like to do that. I'd also like your photo. It's much nicer than mine.

Andrew Stahmer 10 months, 1 week ago

I don't know why my name (ANDREW STAHMER) is not listing...I just figured since I was viewing posts through my own account, I wouldn't see my name but everyone else would. Thanks for the kind word on the pic...

Bob Zimmerman 10 months, 1 week ago

Well...KU enrollment has been declining for five years. How many more years of decline before you start to think about replacing the top administrator and the "truly inspiring" provost?

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