Posts tagged with Ku

KU’s DeBruce Center now open, temporarily without rules of ‘Basket Ball’

Guess where I had lunch today? Kansas University’s brand new DeBruce Center. It wasn’t a special media sneak-preview this time — on Monday the building opened to all.

DeBruce is still missing its pièce de résistance. James Naismith’s original rules of “Basket Ball” are not yet on display, and the “Rules Gallery” where they’ll be installed — a passageway connecting DeBruce and Allen Fieldhouse — is not yet complete. It’s roped off, with crews still hard at work inside.

Officials with KU Memorial Unions, the entity running the DeBruce Center, have stressed Monday was a “soft opening” and the $4.3 million rules won’t be installed until everything surrounding them is in place, probably several more weeks. (As DeBruce Center director Curtis Marsh put it in my last story about the building, “We are not messing around with those rules.”)

Aside from some landscaping and finishing touches on exterior metalwork, pretty much everything else is in place. A few highlights:

• Protective covering was removed on Friday, and the bronze sculpture of James Naismith is now on view outside the building. It was designed by the late KU professor Elden Tefft and completed after his death by his son, Kim Tefft.

• Custom metalwork is everywhere at DeBruce, inside and out. The exterior of the “Rules Galley” is particularly showy. The tunnel, connecting Allen Fieldhouse and DeBruce, is encased on both sides with steel covered in what looks like oversize, laser-cut lettering spelling out sections of the rules. Crews are still completing a large metal wall with a waving wheat motif outside the building.

• The “Rules Concourse” is just one of the ramps that zig-zag across the interior of this almost completely open-air building. The concourse features a display of KU basketball history, including oversize photographs of some of its most famous players.

• The Original Rules Gift Shop is heavy on KU basketball memorabilia, specifically original rules of “Basket Ball” memorabilia.

• Inside the Courtside Cafe, I immediately ordered a crunchy chicken cheddar wrap, of course. But then en route to the register I noticed I could have gotten a gyro, a banh mi sandwich or even barbecue at the other stations inside the cafeteria. Maybe next time, probably when I go back for my first look at those rules.

Outside KU's DeBruce Center is this bronze sculpture of James Naismith designed by the late KU professor Elden Tefft and completed after his death by his son, Kim Tefft.

Outside KU's DeBruce Center is this bronze sculpture of James Naismith designed by the late KU professor Elden Tefft and completed after his death by his son, Kim Tefft. by Sara Shepherd

Work is ongoing on the "Rules Gallery" inside KU's DeBruce Center, where James Naismith's original rules of "Basket Ball" will be displayed. The gallery connects DeBruce with Allen Fieldhouse.

Work is ongoing on the "Rules Gallery" inside KU's DeBruce Center, where James Naismith's original rules of "Basket Ball" will be displayed. The gallery connects DeBruce with Allen Fieldhouse. by Sara Shepherd

The "Rules Concourse" leading to the "Rules Gallery" inside KU's DeBruce Center. The big man on the right is KU basketball legend Clyde Lovellette, one of several famous KU figures featured in the historical display.

The "Rules Concourse" leading to the "Rules Gallery" inside KU's DeBruce Center. The big man on the right is KU basketball legend Clyde Lovellette, one of several famous KU figures featured in the historical display. by Sara Shepherd

The Original Rules Gift Shop inside KU's DeBruce Center features KU memorabilia, particularly original rules memorabilia.

The Original Rules Gift Shop inside KU's DeBruce Center features KU memorabilia, particularly original rules memorabilia. by Sara Shepherd

Just inside the main entrance of KU's DeBruce Center is a coffee shop (right). Open seating is pictured at left.

Just inside the main entrance of KU's DeBruce Center is a coffee shop (right). Open seating is pictured at left. by Sara Shepherd

The exterior of the "Rules Gallery" connecting KU's DeBruce Center (right) with Allen Fieldhouse.

The exterior of the "Rules Gallery" connecting KU's DeBruce Center (right) with Allen Fieldhouse. by Sara Shepherd

The Courtside Cafe on the lower level of KU's DeBruce Center.

The Courtside Cafe on the lower level of KU's DeBruce Center. by Sara Shepherd

The Nutrition Kitchen for student athletes on the top level of KU's DeBruce Center.

The Nutrition Kitchen for student athletes on the top level of KU's DeBruce Center. by Sara Shepherd

KU's DeBruce Center is open Monday through Saturday.

KU's DeBruce Center is open Monday through Saturday. by Sara Shepherd


— I’m the Journal-World’s KU and higher ed reporter. See all the newspaper’s KU coverage at KUToday.com. Reach me by email at sshepherd@ljworld.com, by phone at 832-7187, on Twitter @saramarieshep or via Facebook at Facebook.com/SaraShepherdNews.

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Start brainstorming: KU Alumni Association announces theme for Homecoming 2016; new book tells history of women of Watkins and Miller Halls

The Kansas University Alumni Association announced the theme for Homecoming 2016 on Friday, along with some other key information. Last year, with KU Homecoming on Halloween, the theme was a fitting “Ghosts of Jayhawks Past.” This year’s Oct. 22 homecoming has a more open-ended one: “Rock Chalk Super Hawk.”

Here’s some more Homecoming 2016 information to note, according to the Alumni Association:

Date: Oct. 22. The Saturday homecoming football game follows a week of homecoming festivities kicking off Oct. 16.

Opponent: KU will play the Oklahoma State University Cowboys at Memorial Stadium. Time TBA.

Parade: 6 p.m. Oct. 21 on Massachusetts Street in downtown Lawrence, followed by a pep rally on Eighth Street between Massachusetts and New Hampshire streets.

More information: As other events and information is determined, the Alumni Association will post it online at homecoming.ku.edu, on Twitter @KU_Homecoming and on Facebook at facebook.com/KUHomecoming.

People in charge: The KU Alumni Association and the student-led Homecoming Steering Committee are teaming up to plan festivities. Student director of Homecoming 2016 is Katie Gerard, a junior from Hanover.

A float that looks like Campanile with Jayhawk bat wings makes its way down Massachusetts Street during the KU homecoming parade Friday Oct. 30, 2015.

A float that looks like Campanile with Jayhawk bat wings makes its way down Massachusetts Street during the KU homecoming parade Friday Oct. 30, 2015. by John Young

An entry from the annual KU Sign Competition interpreting the 2015 homecoming theme, "Ghosts of Jayhawks Past."

An entry from the annual KU Sign Competition interpreting the 2015 homecoming theme, "Ghosts of Jayhawks Past." by Mike Yoder


• Watkins and Miller history, in print: A smaller niche of KU alumnae had a celebration last weekend, the women of “Kitchen 8.” Members of this group of Watkins and Miller scholarship halls alumnae gathered for a reception to launch “Watkins and Miller Halls,” a new KU History book published by Historic Mount Oread Friends. The book, compiled by Watkins Hall alumna Norma Decker Hoagland of Leavenworth, covers varying experiences and activities of the women who lived in the halls from 1926 until the present, Hoagland said.

The option these halls have provided so many women has been invaluable, said Hoagland, who lived in Watkins from 1969 to 1971. “I couldn’t afford to go to school if I hadn’t had my Watkins Hall scholarship.”

The cover of the KU history book, “Watkins and Miller Halls." Contributed image.

The cover of the KU history book, “Watkins and Miller Halls." Contributed image. by Sara Shepherd

The book is available for purchase on the University Press of Kansas website, kuecprd.ku.edu. In case you were wondering about the group name, “Kitchen 8,” Hoagland explains: “Watkins and Miller Scholarship Halls each have seven kitchens, where we cook for each other in a family-type atmosphere. When you graduate or leave the halls, you become a member of Kitchen 8."


— I’m the Journal-World’s KU and higher ed reporter. See all the newspaper’s KU coverage at KUToday.com. Reach me by email at sshepherd@ljworld.com, by phone at 832-7187, on Twitter @saramarieshep or via Facebook at Facebook.com/SaraShepherdNews.

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Wheels are turning to create new University Senate standing committee on diversity

Kansas University has an active diversity task force, the "Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Group" created in November by the Office of the Provost. But there are two main problems with it, said University Senate President Mike Williams, who is a representative on the group.

One, it’s finite. Two, it’s not autonomous from university administration.

Williams wants the University Senate to establish a permanent and separate standing committee to address diversity, he said at this week's University Senate Executive Committee meeting.

He said he’s working on a proposal and hopes to bring it to the full University Senate for a vote before the end of the school year. He said the proposal may be to create an ad hoc committee first, which under University Senate rules could be populated and begin work immediately, with the idea it would lead to a permanent committee later, which would take more time to formalize.

Williams said “many” other universities have such committees for diversity and that he was surprised KU did not.

“I think it’s more than just an appropriate gesture,” Williams said. “It’s overdue. I think it’s a chance for governance to become very visible in their support of improving the climate of the university.”

Students hold signs in the back of Woodruff Auditorium in the Kansas Union during a town hall forum on race on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015. The group later took the stage and read a list of diversity and inclusion related demands for the KU campus. KU scheduled the forum in the wake of problems at the University of Missouri, where the system president and chancellor resigned under pressure from students who said the school failed to properly respond to racial problems there.

Students hold signs in the back of Woodruff Auditorium in the Kansas Union during a town hall forum on race on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015. The group later took the stage and read a list of diversity and inclusion related demands for the KU campus. KU scheduled the forum in the wake of problems at the University of Missouri, where the system president and chancellor resigned under pressure from students who said the school failed to properly respond to racial problems there. by Mike Yoder

KU’s Student Senate already has a Multicultural Affairs Committee, one of that body’s four standing committees (the others are Finance, Student Rights and University Affairs). The University Senate (composed of students, faculty and staff) currently has nine standing committees: Academic Computing and Electronic Communications, Academic Policies and Procedures, Athletic, Calendar, International Affairs, Libraries, Organization and Administration, Planning and Resources, and Retirees Rights and Benefits.

Williams said fellow Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Group members and others have said that KU should have a body “beyond administrative reach” that can hear concerns from across campus and make recommendations for how the university can do better.

From the Provost's website, this is the charge of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Group: "The DEI Advisory Group will discover and inform our campus community of patterns of discrimination, including lack of respect, inclusion, and equity in our educational and research environments and social communities. The group will consider on an ongoing basis the degree to which we provide inclusive educational, research, and social environments for all students, staff, and faculty."

• University governance turnover: KU’s various governing bodies are amid their respective changing of the guards this time of year. Student Senate elections are today (Wednesday) and Thursday, and newly elected incoming leaders will meet jointly with outgoing representatives April 27. (If you're interested, The University Daily Kansan covered the presidential and vice presidential candidates' debate here, and published a guide outlining each of the two coalitions' platforms here.)

Faculty Senate, Staff Senate and University Senate also are in the process of naming new leaders and will hold their last meetings of the year in coming weeks.


— I’m the Journal-World’s KU and higher ed reporter. See all the newspaper’s KU coverage at KUToday.com. Reach me by email at sshepherd@ljworld.com, by phone at 832-7187, on Twitter @saramarieshep or via Facebook at Facebook.com/SaraShepherdNews.

Reply 2 comments from Clara Westphal Nathan Anderson

Lilac tradition makes return to campus; update on KU leader in running for president’s position

Despite most of the old overgrown lilac bushes being torn out and replaced last summer, Kansas University’s iconic Lilac Lane won’t go a spring without blooms.

New bushes planted in September are in bloom their first season in the ground, as university landscapers had hoped when I talked to them last fall. The new bushes are small — on top of being young, the more than six dozen planted along the sidewalk are a dwarf variety. But between those and a handful of large, old bushes remaining closer to Fraser Hall, there are enough flowers that the scent of lilacs wafts through the air along the sidewalk.

A Kansas University student walks next to new lilac bushes in bloom behind Fraser Hall on Tuesday, April 5, 2016. While some old bushes near the building remain, the lilacs along Lilac Lane were torn out and replanted with dwarf varieties in fall 2015.

A Kansas University student walks next to new lilac bushes in bloom behind Fraser Hall on Tuesday, April 5, 2016. While some old bushes near the building remain, the lilacs along Lilac Lane were torn out and replanted with dwarf varieties in fall 2015. by Sara Shepherd

It’s fantastic, and definitely worth taking a walk in the next week or so while the bushes are still in bloom.

Considering the nearly 150-year history of Lilac Lane, it’s fun to think about how many generations of students, faculty and even chancellors — The Outlook, home to KU chancellors since 1939, lies at the end of Lilac Lane — have done the same thing this time of year.

Information on Lilac Lane in the National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for the KU Historic District.

Information on Lilac Lane in the National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for the KU Historic District. by Sara Shepherd

A few more recent campus updates to know about:

• Vice chancellor not hired at GSU: KU vice chancellor for public affairs Tim Caboni was a finalist to become president of Georgia Southern University, but it looks like he won’t be headed there. The University System of Georgia announced Wednesday that Jaimie Hebert of Sam Houston State University would be Georgia Southern’s new president.

• Ecology and evolutionary biology professor dies: A KU professor known for his work in aquatic ecology, biofuels and the ecology of infectious diseases died last week. Val Smith, 65, a professor in the department of ecology and evolutionary biology, died April 2 at his home in Lawrence, according to KU.

“I join the University of Kansas community in mourning the death of Professor Val Smith, whose teaching and research contributed significantly to his field and helped elevate the reputation of the university and the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology,” KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said in a statement from the university.

Visitation is planned for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday at Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th St., according to Smith's obituary.


— I’m the Journal-World’s KU and higher ed reporter. See all the newspaper’s KU coverage here. Reach me by email at sshepherd@ljworld.com, by phone at 832-7187, on Twitter @saramarieshep or via Facebook at Facebook.com/SaraShepherdNews.

Reply 1 comment from Clara Westphal

Pro-Trump chalkings: KU says it ‘errs on side of free speech’ and has not removed them

Some students have complained about pro-Trump chalking on Kansas University sidewalks in recent weeks. But while nature may have erased some of the messages, KU has not intervened, university spokeswoman Erinn Barcomb-Peterson said.

At KU and a number of other college campuses nationwide, sidewalk chalking endorsing Republican front-runner presidential candidate Donald Trump has cropped up, often with the hashtag #TheChalkening. Some students have objected on social media and directly to university administrations, even calling on them to remove the chalkings, because they say Trump is intolerant of minorities, among other complaints. At Emory University in Atlanta, students said the pro-Trump chalkings made them fear for their lives.

KU has a chalking policy. It addresses sidewalk chalking along with posting material to bulletin boards, and can be found online here.

The policy says university units and registered KU organizations are allowed to chalk to promote upcoming events. With approval from the University Events Committee, nonregistered groups or individuals also can chalk to promote upcoming events.

Barcomb-Peterson said KU doesn’t have staff out patrolling for violations of its chalking policy. She said the university is aware that some students don’t want pro-Trump messages on the sidewalk but that KU has not erased any of them.

“We do have a policy, but in terms of when and whether we enforce it, we’re always erring on the side of free speech,” Barcomb-Peterson said.

KU’s policy does say chalking that violates the policy is subject to removal, and responsible parties can be charged for removal costs. But doing so “is not really part of our practice,” Barcomb-Peterson said.

That said, chalk is pretty ephemeral stuff, and weather and thousands of walking feet can deteriorate sidewalk messages quickly without anyone proactively washing it away. I was on the north end of campus Tuesday and saw no Trump chalkings but did see a couple others, some promoting an upcoming 5K run and others Thursday night’s student body president candidate debates (7 p.m. in Woodruff Auditorium at the Kansas Union, BTW) — not sure how long those had been there but all were pretty faded and hard to make out.


To give you a feel for what's happening online, where most of this battle seems to be being waged, here are a few emissions direct from the Twitter-sphere:

None by RockChalkTrumpHawk

None by MauricioGómezMontoya

The New York Times even included a link to an anti-Trump chalking tweet from KU in a Friday article.

None by Shegufta

A Wednesday Chronicle of Higher Education article on the Trump chalkings seemed, in its usual academic way, to sum up concerns of the people who say the messages equate to "intimidation": "In their view, Mr. Trump’s name has become synonymous with attacks on Muslims, Latin Americans, African-Americans, and other minority groups. They contend that the 'Trump 2016' and 'Vote Trump' messages ... represent intolerant views that have no place on campuses that seek to promote inclusion and respect."


— I’m the Journal-World’s KU and higher ed reporter. See all the newspaper’s KU coverage here. Reach me by email at sshepherd@ljworld.com, by phone at 832-7187, on Twitter @saramarieshep or via Facebook at Facebook.com/SaraShepherdNews.

Reply 7 comments from Teri Griffin-Guntert Richard Aronoff Bob Smith Dorothy Hoyt-Reed Chris Bohling Bill Williams

More from Big 12 Clery reports: Dating violence, murder, assault and — on the lighter side — beyond popcorn fires

In Sunday’s Journal-World I had a story comparing the number of forcible sex offenses reported at all Big 12 universities, according to their 2015 Clery reports. With 32 rapes and fondlings (18 rape, 14 fondling) reported in 2014, KU had significantly more than any other Big 12 school except the University of Texas (which, notably, has more than 50,000 students on its main campus compared with KU’s 24,700).

See the full story and chart of sex offenses by school here.

If you’re not familiar with Clery reports, they contain far more information than just sex offenses — anywhere between 50 and 100 or so more pages of information, at least among the Big 12 university reports I cited.

In this file photo from Sept. 16, 2014, demonstrators sit outside Strong Hall to protest Kansas University's handling of sexual assault investigations.

In this file photo from Sept. 16, 2014, demonstrators sit outside Strong Hall to protest Kansas University's handling of sexual assault investigations. by Mike Yoder

Here’s a look at a few other nuggets I noted from these reports, which federal law requires each school to prepare annually and make publicly available:

• Domestic violence, dating violence and stalking: KU also had the second-highest number of these offenses in 2014, following Texas.

Here are the number of domestic violence, dating violence and stalking reports by school: Texas, 62; KU, 53; Iowa State, 49; West Virginia, 29; Oklahoma, 28; Oklahoma State, 26; Texas Tech, 21; K-State, 16; Baylor, 7; and Texas Christian, 5.

• Murder and aggravated assault: Texas Christian was the only school to report a murder or manslaughter in 2014, and it was in campus housing, according to its Clery report. (In 2013 K-State had one on campus, and Texas had one on adjacent public property, according to their Clery reports.)

In one of the next-most serious violent crime categories, every Big 12 school except Baylor tallied at least a couple aggravated assaults, defined in the Clery reports as an unlawful act by one person against another for the purpose of inflicting severe bodily injury, and usually accompanied by a weapon.

Here are the number of aggravated assaults by school: Texas, 9; Texas Christian, 7; Texas Tech, 6; KU, 6; West Virginia, 5; Iowa State, 3; Oklahoma, 2; Oklahoma State, 2; K-State, 2; and Baylor, 0.

• TMI?: Besides making a school’s crime statistics transparent and comprehensive* Clery reports are also mandated to be informative about campus policy and resources.

I’d be shocked if many students — or even parents — read these things cover-to-cover.

But if they did, they would learn (at least from KU’s 52-page report): contact information for where to report almost anything, from sexual assault to building security concerns; where to call to get help with mental health issues; statutes about policy authority and jurisdiction; summaries of safety-related university policies, from weapons on campus to nondiscrimination; Kansas DUI laws; personal safety tips; the university’s plan for responding to sex offenses; FBI definitions of every criminal offense listed; and more.

(*Clery reports tally crimes reported to campus police, other law enforcement and university officials such as KU’s Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access. They include crimes reported on campus proper, public property adjacent to campus and noncampus properties such as fraternities, sororities or buildings used for university purposes.)

• Fires (aka, RIP dinner): One part of KU’s Clery report made me laugh, a list of all the things KU students were attempting to cook when they started fires in their dorm rooms or campus apartments.

Of 61 student housing fires reported in 2014, a lone incident was caused by a cigarette tossed into mulch, according to KU’s 2015 Clery report. The other 60 all stemmed from cooking-gone-wrong.

Among casualties listed more specifically than just “cooking fire” or the ubiquitous “burnt popcorn” are: burnt hotdog, pork chops, bacon, hamburger, cookies, mac-n-cheese, meatballs, steaks, bagel, pizza box and plantains.

Fortunately in KU’s case, according to its 2015 Clery report, no human fire injuries or deaths from residential housing fires have been reported in at least the past three years.

Lewis Hall, center left, with Templin Hall at right.

Lewis Hall, center left, with Templin Hall at right.


— I’m the Journal-World’s KU and higher ed reporter. See all the newspaper’s KU coverage here. Reach me by email at sshepherd@ljworld.com, by phone at 832-7187, on Twitter @saramarieshep or via Facebook at Facebook.com/SaraShepherdNews.

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KU mourns recent deaths of professors emeriti

As March comes to a close, the Kansas University community is missing three notable professors emeriti, who combined had amassed well over a century of teaching in Slavic languages, English and history of art. Stephen Parker, Melvin Landsberg and Marilyn Stokstad died this month.


Parker, 76, died March 14 from complications of Alzheimer's, according to his obituary. A celebration of life was to be planned at a later date.

University leaders described him as renowned for his research in Slavic languages and literatures, particularly the author Vladimir Nabokov. According to a university news release, Parker taught at KU from 1967 until his retirement in 2011, and chaired the Slavic department from 1987 to 2000.

“Steve was so generous to the Slavic department, its faculty and students in donating his mother's (Professor Fan Parker) and his comprehensive collection of Russian literary works, as well as funds to build the Parker Slavic Library,” Marc Greenberg, director of the KU School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures and former Slavic department chair said in the news release. “I will always be grateful to him.”


Landsberg died March 5 at age 89, according to a KU news release. Services were March 9.

Landsberg was known as perhaps the world’s leading expert on 20th century writer John Dos Passos and authored the book “Dos Passos’ Path to USA: A Political Biography, 1912-1936,” according to KU.

He taught in KU’s department of English from 1961 to 2009, according to his obituary, and his “deep knowledge and understanding of literature and history informed his teaching, fueled his lifelong interests in a wide range of topics, and made him an often fascinating conversationalist.”


Stokstad, KU’s Judith Harris Murphy Distinguished Professor Emerita of Art History, died March 4 at 87. A celebration of life is planned for the fall, according to a KU announcement.

Stokstad wrote art history textbooks used widely by universities (personal disclosure: I still have Stokstad’s “Medieval Art” and the massive and encyclopedic hardback “Art History” in my bookshelf at home). According to KU she joined the KU faculty in 1958 and retired in 2002, including directing the then-KU Museum of Art in the 1960s and serving as associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences in the 1970s.

In addition to her academic legacy, Stokstad's financial gifts to KU included one announced in 2014 to establish the Spencer Museum of Art Marilyn Stokstad Directorship, making that job an endowed position at KU. Here’s a snip from the story I wrote at the time: “Stokstad said the museum was in her will but that she decided it would be ‘much more fun’ to make the donation, an undisclosed amount, while she was around to see it.”

In this 2001 photo, KU art history distinguished professor Marilyn Stokstad is pictured with the recently completed second edition of her book, "Art History," a 1,200-page comprehensive collection of the history of all types of art. Her work got a lot of national publicity, including being selected on a list of top 24 books for holiday gifts on the "Today" show.

In this 2001 photo, KU art history distinguished professor Marilyn Stokstad is pictured with the recently completed second edition of her book, "Art History," a 1,200-page comprehensive collection of the history of all types of art. Her work got a lot of national publicity, including being selected on a list of top 24 books for holiday gifts on the "Today" show. by Mike Yoder/Journal-World Photo


— I’m the Journal-World’s KU and higher ed reporter. See all the newspaper’s KU coverage here. Reach me by email at sshepherd@ljworld.com, by phone at 832-7187, on Twitter @saramarieshep or via Facebook at Facebook.com/SaraShepherdNews.

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Legislating restrooms and religious clubs: How would bills affect KU?

Kansas lawmakers in the past week have advanced a couple pieces of legislation that could affect certain Kansas University populations: transgender students who need to go to the bathroom, and students who want to join a religious club they don’t necessarily agree with.

One was just signed into law, and I’m unqualified to guess whether the other is going anywhere, but I did do some poking around to find out how they compare with the status quo at KU.

First, restrooms.

In short, two separate but identical bills proposed in the House and Senate would require transgender students at Kansas public schools and universities to use restrooms and locker rooms designated for their chromosomal sex at birth. (This story provides more details.)

With help from KU spokeswoman Erinn Barcomb-Peterson, I determined that with the exception of a KU Libraries policy that prohibits use of library restrooms “for purposes other than which they are intended,” KU doesn’t currently have any rules or regulations about where people can go to the bathroom.

There are a number of single-occupancy restrooms on campus (often called family restrooms), some of which have signage specifying that they are gender-neutral — even though by definition they already are. It doesn’t seem this bill would apply to those, but rather only restrooms that are designated for one sex or another.

None by Hugo Macias, Jr.

The Kansas Board of Regents doesn’t have any overarching bathroom policies, either, but says federal laws prohibiting sex-based discrimination would dictate what’s required. According to a memo from the Regents legal team, transgender students seeking to use restrooms designated for the sex they identify as have repeatedly won court cases, and the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights has also ruled that they can use the restroom of their choice.

Next, religious clubs.

None

Gov. Sam Brownback signed this bill into law Tuesday, and it will take effect in July — although, according to The Associated Press, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled nearly six years ago that universities can require membership in such groups to be open to all. The bill will allow college religious groups to restrict membership to like-minded students.

Currently at KU, all registered KU organizations are open to all students, KU spokesman Joe Monaco said. Whether they actually receive university funding or not (clubs often get money in the form of student fee revenue) doesn’t matter, Monaco said — all registered KU organizations are eligible to request it so they’re all in the same category and follow the same rules.

There is an overarching Regents policy specifically addressing club membership. Relevant passages:

The established policy of the Board of Regents prohibits discrimination on the basis of age, race, color, religion, sex, marital status, national origin, physical handicap or disability, status as a Vietnam Era Veteran, sexual orientation or other factors which cannot be lawfully considered, within the state universities. All fraternal and campus related organizations shall follow this policy in the selection of their members, except the prohibition against sex discrimination shall not apply to social fraternities or sororities which are excluded from the application of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. Sec. 1681 et seq.).

The right of organizations to establish standards for membership is acknowledged, provided that all students are afforded equal opportunity to meet those standards. Just as all students have the right to choose those with whom they would associate on the campus, an organization shall have the right to select its members subject to these principles.

There are currently 36 registered KU organizations in the “Religious” category, according to a search of groups listed on RockChalkCentral.ku.edu. Those include lots of Christian groups, several Jewish ones, the Muslim Student Association and the Society of Open-Minded Atheists and Agnostics, to name a few.


— I’m the Journal-World’s KU and higher ed reporter. See all the newspaper’s KU coverage here. Reach me by email at sshepherd@ljworld.com, by phone at 832-7187, on Twitter @saramarieshep or via Facebook at Facebook.com/SaraShepherdNews.

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Outtakes from Wednesday’s Student Senate meeting: More on Multicultural Student Government talks and visitors from Mizzou

Wednesday night’s Kansas University Student Senate meeting was six and a half hours long.

At least it wasn’t dull.

In the most significant news of the night, the Senate voted to approve a bill allocating $90,000 a year in required student fees to create a Multicultural Student Government at KU, pending final approval by the chancellor. After a couple hours of discussion, that vote happened at 11 p.m., just in time for me to turn around a story for the next morning’s paper. (The Senate took two more hours to finish other business, including electing a new student body vice president to finish the year.)

As with other discussions at KU involving race this year, that one was tense at times. Here are some outtakes that didn’t make it into my main story.

• About 50 visitors — almost all of them black, most KU students — lined up in support of the Multicultural Student Government as students Jameelah Jones and Katherine Rainey made a pitch for funding their organization.

Senate, of course, is open to any student, and the Multicultural Student Government would be open to any student as well. But Jones and Rainey said the separate government was needed because multicultural students don’t feel comfortable participating in or speaking up in the predominantly white Senate, nor does it prioritize the things these students need.

At one point Student Body President Jessie Pringle asked the 50 visitors how many would run for positions in a new Multicultural Student Government. All raised their hands. Then she asked how many would participate in the current Senate. Only one or two raised hands.

• Informal talks about a Multicultural Student Government have been happening for months; creating such a group was one of 15 demands the student activist group Rock Chalk Invisible Hawk — specifically, Rainey — read on stage during KU’s universitywide town hall forum on race in November. Funding for it was added to the Senate’s fee bill in committee last week, and Wednesday night was the first time the full Senate heard a formal presentation, the second-to-last full Senate meeting of the year.

Jones and Rainey presented their new group’s mission statement, addressed a list of misconceptions they described as “the master narrative versus reality,” and said the new organization would help address a “multigenerational, long-term problem.” They provided a slide showing how the group’s allotted $90,000 would be budgeted: $48,000 for executive board stipends; $10,000 for speakers and event programming; $10,000 for Multicultural Student Orientation; $15,000 for supplies and advertising; and $7,000 for miscellaneous expenses. They said the new government would have “equal representation in all university spaces” and “equal seats in campus fee review.”

KU Multicultural Student Government mission statement.

KU Multicultural Student Government mission statement. by Sara Shepherd

What they did not present or answer questions about yet was specifically how that will shake out, logistically. Rainey said that, to her, the question of the night wasn’t about details at this point but rather about whether the Senate wanted to increase fees to create positive, long-term change for KU’s multicultural students.

Some, however, called the act of questioning a race issue. Senate finance committee chairman Tyler Childress said he didn’t remember senators questioning other new student organizations about details such as their bylaws. Student Senate Chief of Staff Adam Moon said that wasn’t true, that Senate does ask groups receiving large amounts of money, including Alternative Spring Breaks and Center for Community Outreach, for detailed plans.

• The people who seemed the maddest about such questioning weren’t the KU students. They were a handful of black University of Missouri students who said they were part of the Concerned Student 1950 activist group. (That’s the group that started the Mizzou campus protests that spurred the resignation of both the university president and the system chancellor in November.)

One Mizzou student who said she was visiting KU for the first time told Senate members to start “centering your privilege.” “This whole presentation, what they gave, is like a form of oppression,” she said. “They don’t need to come to you and explain why their blackness, their brownness, matters. I just find it very problematic that we’re even engaging in this conversation.”

Another Mizzou student used the n-word — twice — in describing how the Missouri Students Association President, who is black, was called that word on their campus. He said Multicultural Student Government supporters should not have to “diplomatically plead” with the Senate to have a separate space. “If they were to turn into us,” the Mizzou student said, “you all would have a serious problem.”

None by Alex Robinson

Later when Student Body Vice President Zach George raised a point of order for a speaker talking out of turn, that student said, “We don’t operate under point of order, we’re not from KU.”

• A number of Senate members spoke strongly in favor of the new government, and hardly anyone spoke against funding it. But Moon, the Senate Chief of Staff — after taking a deep breath — did.

Moon said allocating resources to multicultural communities was essential and that he saw a lot of positives that could come from it. However, he said he had reservations about funding the group without yet knowing specifics about how it would work going forward.

“I understand my opinions are unpopular,” Moon said.

One of the Mizzou students pointed at him and said, “Oppression! Oppression! Privilege!”

• The vote to approve the fee bill, including the Multicultural Student Government, passed with 51 senators for, 9 against and 6 abstaining. The Senate normally votes on measures via electronic clicker, but after some visitors and senators demanded a verbal roll call vote, the body voted that way instead.

For the measure to become final, Pringle must next approve the fee bill and forward it to the chancellor for approval. Thursday afternoon, according to university spokesman Joe Monaco, the chancellor had not yet received the new fee package.


— I’m the Journal-World’s KU and higher ed reporter. See all the newspaper’s KU coverage here. Reach me by email at sshepherd@ljworld.com, by phone at 832-7187, on Twitter @saramarieshep or via Facebook at Facebook.com/SaraShepherdNews.

Reply 1 comment from Clara Westphal

‘Intellectual discomfort’ and ‘new ideas’: Newly released chancellor’s report issues challenge for KU

Kansas University’s newly released Chancellor’s Report draws a parallel between the tumultuous times in which the university was founded and some of its present challenges.

The annual report highlighting a variety of success stories and projects at KU went live online Friday, and print copies are being distributed around campus early this week, I’m told by KU public affairs. In a video introduction to this year’s collection of stories, headlined "My call to you ...," Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little recalls when KU was founded 150 years ago, on the heels of the Civil War.

Other KU faculty, staff, students and alumni then chime in:

Since its beginning this university has been central to our nation’s story and has grappled with our society’s greatest challenges. Some of those challenges today — citizenship, race, state’s rights — aren’t that different from those of 150 years ago.

Responding to those challenges is why they’re here, they say:

It’s not always easy. It makes some people uncomfortable, but that’s good ... to be challenged, to experience intellectual discomfort, to learn and to test new ideas.

Familiar faces from the video, to name just a few, include KU alumna Alyssa Cole, the then-student and single mom who introduced President Barack Obama for his January 2015 speech at KU; physics and astronomy professor Alice Bean, who’s led a team helping with upgrades to the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva; professor of ecology and evolutionary biology Jim Thorp, lead investigator on a $4.2 million grant to study climate change via U.S. and Mongolian rivers; and associate professor of film Kevin Willmott, who co-wrote the recent film “Chi-Raq” with Spike Lee.

See the full Chancellor’s Report and read stories about some of these KU representatives and others online at report2016.ku.edu.


— I’m the Journal-World’s KU and higher ed reporter. See all the newspaper’s KU coverage here. Reach me by email at sshepherd@ljworld.com, by phone at 832-7187, on Twitter @saramarieshep or via Facebook at Facebook.com/SaraShepherdNews.

Reply 1 comment from Scott Quenette

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