KU’s standard housing, dining rates to stay flat for coming year; Regents interested in parental leave

photo by: John English, Special to the Journal-World

This file photo from April 13, 2016, shows Daisy Hill, including Oswald Hall, back left, Self Hall, back right, Hashinger Hall, front left, and Lewis Hall, front right, on the University of Kansas campus.

The Kansas Board of Regents on Wednesday approved rate adjustments for housing and food service for its six universities.

The University of Kansas will hold off raising rates for a standard double occupancy room at KU with a standard dining package in the coming year. However, the current cost of $10,350 per school year is still $900 higher than at Kansas State University, which has the next highest rate of the Regents schools.

KU’s proposal did include a 1.5 percent rate increase for its higher-end housing program, which includes a room in the newly constructed and renovated residence halls.

KU’s data shows its residence hall occupancy rate will increase by fall of fiscal 2020, following a recent decline. According to the report, KU had a 99.2 percent occupancy rate in fiscal year 2017, 94.6 percent in the fiscal year 2018 and 93.4 percent this fiscal year. The fiscal year 2020 rate is projected to be 97 percent.

In other business:

• The Regents discussed Gov. Jeff Colyer’s recent executive order to provide six weeks of paid leave for the primary caregiver of a newborn or newly adopted child and three weeks for each parent who is the secondary caregiver. Although the executive order does not apply to state university employees, it encourages the universities to adopt comparable policies.

Julene Miller, Regents general counsel, recommended that the board direct the State University Council of Presidents to gather information regarding establishing an additional leave policy for new parents and to make a recommendation back to the board at the February meeting.

“I would like to see us do this,” KU Chancellor Douglas Girod said after the meeting.

With current challenges of budget cuts facing faculty, Girod said it was something KU could offer its faculty and staff. Currently, those on maternity or paternity leave at KU must use vacation or sick leave, or just take unpaid time off.

• KU presented a request to sell Oldfather Studios. The Lawrence facility was given to KU in 1991 by Charles and Hortense Oldfather and used for Film and Media Studies until the program moved into Summerfield Hall in 2017.

Not only is the building in poor condition, with mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems issues, but it’s also located about a half-mile from campus, at 1621 W. Ninth St. Leaving the building vacant would be a liability, according to KU’s report.

The Kansas Board of Regents will meet again at 9:45 a.m. Thursday in the Curtis State Office Building in Topeka.


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