Kansas Board of Regents must vote on KU’s request to extend deadline for controversial policy

photo by: Chris Conde/Journal-World File Photo

Strong Hall on the University of Kansas campus is shown on Sept. 13, 2018.

A vote will be required for the Kansas Board of Regents to allow the University of Kansas an extension for submitting a framework to use a controversial new policy, according to the board’s spokesperson.

Last week, KU’s provost Barbara Bichelmeyer announced that KU would be asking the Kansas Board of Regents to grant the university until July 1 to decide whether or not it would submit a framework for the policy that gives university CEOs more power to suspend, dismiss or terminate employees — including tenured faculty members — in light of the financial crisis many universities face because of the coronavirus pandemic.

As written, the temporary policy only allows university CEOs 45 days to present the Board with a framework to enact the policy. The policy was approved on Jan. 20, and the 45 day deadline would be March 6.

Matt Keith, the spokesperson for the Kansas Board of Regents, said that, since it is a board policy, it would require a vote of the Regents to amend it.

“The Board is meeting next week, so KU could officially present this request to the Regents then,” Keith wrote in an email to the Journal-World. “If KU brings the request, the Board would likely be prepared to discuss it during the meeting.”

KU spokesperson Erinn Barcomb-Peterson said the university planned to ask for the extension at the Wednesday meeting next week.

Keith did not immediately respond to a follow-up request asking if the board would be likely to act on the request, as well as discuss it. The next Kansas Board of Regents meeting is the only scheduled Regents meeting prior to the current 45-day deadline for the policy. The Regents’ March meeting is scheduled for March 17.

When asked what KU’s plans would be if the Regents voted not to extend the deadline, Barcomb-Peterson told the Journal-World to reach out about that question again following Wednesday’s meeting.

As the Journal-World has reported, over 1,000 KU faculty and staff members have signed a statement protesting the policy. Additionally, over 7,000 students, alumni, donors, supporters and colleagues in the field of higher education have signed a solidarity statement also stating their objection to the policy.


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