WRITER: Conner Mitchell

Deadline to withdraw from KU courses with 100% refund extended ahead of uncertain fall semester

University of Kansas students now have one more week to withdraw from their fall classes and still get their full tuition money back. Just three days ahead of an unprecedented fall semester taking place in the middle of a global pandemic, KU Provost Barbara Bichelmeyer announced that as a result of efforts from KU's student government leaders, the university would extend the deadline to receive 100% of tuition ...

KU will enforce COVID-19 policies among all student groups, says it's up to students to help semester run smoothly

The University of Kansas on Wednesday signaled that it would strictly enforce mandatory policies during the fall semester regarding mask-wearing, social distancing and gatherings for all student populations — regardless of whether students live in KU housing, live off campus, commute from home or attend classes online. A message from Tammara Durham, KU's vice provost for student affairs, also made clear that ...

Kansas Athletics seeking $20 million emergency line of credit in case pandemic alters football, basketball seasons

University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas Girod on Wednesday called an emergency meeting of the governing board that oversees Kansas Athletics seeking permission for Athletic Director Jeff Long to obtain a $20 million, short-term line of credit in case the COVID-19 pandemic significantly modifies the 2020 football and basketball seasons. Girod’s email calling the meeting did not hint at anything forthcoming in ...

Initial COVID-19 testing numbers at KU reflect low percentage of positives, but high concentration in sororities, fraternities

The first COVID-19 testing results for around 7,800 people returning to the University of Kansas campus show roughly 90 positive cases of the respiratory virus, the Journal-World learned Wednesday evening. Of those 90 positives, 87 came from students who have returned thus far — for a positive rate of only 1.7%. However, there was one aspect of the initial results that caught the eye of university leaders ...

Initial COVID-19 testing program at KU continues as fall semester nears; data to be released in coming days

Less than a week from the beginning of physical classes on the University of Kansas campus amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the university’s mandatory testing program to initially screen the KU community for the respiratory virus is ongoing. After several inquiries by the Journal-World, KU said late Tuesday that it would release an update on data from the current round of testing — which has been ongoing since ...

Nearly 40 KU academic, department leaders pen letter blasting officials for lack of transparency, call for 'continuous' COVID-19 testing of anyone on campus

The chairs and directors of 38 departments and academic units at the University of Kansas on Monday chided the university’s leaders for a lack of transparency in handling the COVID-19 pandemic and asked KU to commit to additional testing and protocols. The faculty leaders sent a letter on Monday to KU Chancellor Douglas Girod and Provost Barbara Bichelmeyer expressing concerns that were, in part, spurred by ...

Kansas Gov. Kelly reissues ban on pandemic-related evictions and foreclosures

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly on Monday announced she was reinstating a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures that are caused by tenants and owners being unable to pay their bills because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The initial ban on pandemic-related evictions and foreclosures in Kansas expired in June, but Kelly said that as federal unemployment benefits have expired in recent weeks, Kansas is no longer in a ...

Here's where federal CARES Act funding will help KU in its reopening process

In recent weeks, the University of Kansas has tentatively secured north of $20 million in allocations from the federal CARES Act to put toward the costs associated with reopening its campus through the end of 2020, according to a Journal-World analysis. That figure includes just over $19 million in CARES Act funding allocated by Gov. Laura Kelly's SPARK task force, which has also been finalized and approved by ...

KU launches 25-person task force dedicated to improving local policing; Girod says KU PSO will stay

The University of Kansas on Friday announced it was forming a task force dedicated to reviewing and recommending changes to the public safety policies of its on-campus police force. KU Chancellor Douglas Girod said the 25-person task force, which will be chaired by KU Distinguished Professor Charles Epp, is the first step in addressing a commitment the university made in early June to address systemic racism ...

Eudora awarded $250K in federal funds for downtown building renovation

The city of Eudora was one of three cities in Kansas to receive $250,000 in federal funding geared toward helping smaller, more rural communities with economic development projects, Gov. Laura Kelly announced Wednesday. Eudora joined Clay Center and Lincoln in being selected as funding recipients. As part of the Community Development Block Grant program, each city also provides matching funds for their ...

Standing council created at KU to improve diversity, equity and inclusion practices

In the second major announcement of the day related to racism and equity issues, the University of Kansas said Friday it was creating a standing advisory council tasked with examining and monitoring programs and structures at KU to ensure they support diversity, equity and inclusion. Provost Barbara Bichelmeyer announced the council's formation just hours after Chancellor Douglas Girod announced the creation of ...

KU survey didn't ask if students wanted to return to campus; claim of 'overwhelming' desire to do so was based on students saying they planned on in-person classes

A student survey at the University of Kansas that officials have touted for weeks as evidence of students' "overwhelming" desire to return to the Lawrence campus for an in-person fall semester did not actually ask students whether they wanted to come back amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Eight hours after the Journal-World wrote an article Wednesday saying KU was hesitant to release the survey data, the ...

KU says student survey shows 'overwhelming' desire to return to campus — but it isn't releasing the data

In recent weeks, officials at the University of Kansas have on several occasions touted data of a "recent" survey of KU students that they say shows an "overwhelming" desire to return to campus for the fall semester, which is scheduled to begin in less than two weeks. When the Journal-World asked for the data behind that survey, though, the university was, and continues to be, hesitant to release information. ...

More details emerge on protocols for KU's fall semester reopening; student violators of mask policy can face academic misconduct charges

Less than two weeks ahead of an unprecedented fall semester on the University of Kansas campus, Provost Barbara Bichelmeyer on Tuesday released a comprehensive list of actions KU has taken to prepare for the return of thousands of students, staff and faculty members amid the COVID-19 pandemic. While not everything mentioned in Bichelmeyer's campus message was entirely new information, the list did provide a ...

From March to June, KU paid outside counsel nearly $42,000 for COVID-19 consultation, records show

In the earliest months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Kansas hired two outside law firms to consult on policies related to the pandemic, according to records obtained by the Journal-World. Those two firms — Husch Blackwell in Kansas City and a Washington D.C.- based firm called Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP — completed just over 87 hours of work for Kansas’ flagship university ...

Records: Those actively banned from KU's campus include some from ticket scandal, convicted violent criminals

At least 24 individuals are actively banned from all or parts of the University of Kansas campus, according to records obtained by the Journal-World. The Journal-World's review found that while KU has express authority — given by the Kansas Board of Regents — to ban individuals from the public campus, the university does not have a policy in place that guides when the university issues a ban or for how long ...

Testing initially wasn’t going to be mandatory at KU, but decision changed at the last minute

The University of Kansas on Wednesday announced that students and staff returning to campus would go through a mandated COVID-19 testing program, similar to plans announced by other universities across the country. But documents obtained by the Journal-World show that just a day earlier, university leaders had decided testing wouldn’t be mandated for all, and that the university was on the verge of adopting ...

Kansas health official highlights mask mandate’s effectiveness, says school sports ‘very unlikely to succeed’

The 15 Kansas counties that followed through with Gov. Laura Kelly’s mask mandate are the only areas of the state actively reducing the spread of COVID-19, Kansas’ top health official said Wednesday. Dr. Lee Norman, Kansas secretary of health and environment, presented the new data at his weekly COVID-19 news conference. Norman said that since Kelly’s order went into effect July 3, there has been no ...

KU will mandate initial COVID-19 testing for campus community, Girod says

Story updated at 7:24 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 5: The University of Kansas will mandate that all students, staff and faculty members who are able to return to campus take a free saliva-based COVID-19 test, Chancellor Douglas Girod announced Wednesday. The tests, which will be administered before the semester begins Aug. 24, will be given at drive-up testing sites at different locations. The testing will be ...

Douglas County could ‘shatter’ previous primary turnouts, county election officer says

Despite an unprecedented global health crisis, Douglas County appears to be on pace to far surpass any previous voter turnout for a primary election. Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew told the Journal-World Tuesday that projection is based on several factors, but most notably the county’s marked increase in requests to vote in advance and by mail. The newspaper reported Monday that Douglas County received ...