Today, 103 distinguished professors from four Kansas universities (K-State, KU, Wichita State, KUMC) are calling for an immediate end to the Kansas Board of Regents’ new termination policy. The full text is on Kansas State University’s news pages. In an effort to spread the word, I’m reproducing the letter here, also.
Dear Members of the Kansas Board of Regents,
We, the undersigned distinguished professors from Kansas Board of Regents universities, strongly urge the immediate rescinding of the KBOR’s new termination policy. We applaud Allison Garrett (Emporia State), Tisa A. Mason (Fort Hays State), Richard Myers (Kansas State), Steven A. Scott (Pittsburg State), and Richard Muma (Wichita State) for refusing to use the policy. It is harmful to our individual campuses and to the Regents system as a whole.
As Regent Shane Bangerter notes, these are indeed “extreme times.” The chronic underfunding of Kansas higher education has become suddenly acute. However, Regents universities already have a policy crafted specifically to address such extremity–declaring financial exigency allows universities to downsize in the face of financial emergency. In consultation with KBOR, each campus has already developed, via shared governance, the necessary procedures: these should be implemented if a campus determines that they are needed. Best practices for university management require transparency and proper procedure.
To jettison best practices with this substitute policy not only reveals a lack of respect for each campus’ system of shared governance, it threatens long-term damage to the missions of each institution. It undermines the purpose of tenure, which is to allow faculty to pursue their scholarship without fear of repercussions. Academic freedom is the foundation upon which we build discovery, robust research, scholarship and creative activities. It also fosters an environment essential to recruiting and retaining excellent faculty in the future. Finally, the new policy undermines the morale of current staff and faculty at precisely the time when each campus needs extraordinary effort and resilience from them.
Christer B. Aakeröy, Chemistry, K-State Christine Aikens, Chemistry, K-State Perry Alexander, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, KU Beth Bailey, History, KU William A. Barnett, Economics, KU Thomas J. Barstow, Kinesiology, K-State Alice Bean, Physics and Astronomy, KU K. Christopher Beard, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, KU Itzhak Ben-Itzhak, Physics, K-State James D. Bever, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, KU Raj Bhala, School of Law, KU Monica Biernat, Psychology, KU John Blair, Division of Biology, K-State Frank Blecha, Anatomy and Physiology, K-State George R. Bousfield, Biological Sciences, WSU Nyla Branscombe, Psychology, KU Yolanda Broyles-Gonzalez, American Ethnic Studies, K-State Joyce Castle, Music, KU M.M. Chengappa, Veterinary Medicine, K-State C. Lewis Cocke, Emeritus, Physics, K-State Bernard Cornet, Economics, KU David Darwin, Civil, Environmental & Architectural Engineering, KU Lynne Davis, Music, WSU Sarah Deer, Women, Gender, and Sexuality, KU Elizabeth Dodd, English, K-State Walter Dodds, Biology, K-State Jolynn A. Dowling, School of Nursing, WSU Michael S. Engel, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, KU Charles Epp, Public Affairs and Administration, KU David Farber, History, KU Victor S. Frost, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, KU Randall Fuller, English, KU Keith Gido, Biology, K-State Bikram S. Gill, Plant Pathology, K-State Richard Godbeer, History, KU Robert Goldstein, Department of Geology, KU Wayne Everett Goins, Music, K-State John W. Head, Law, KU Anne D. Hedeman, Art History, KU Dale Herspring, Emeritus, Political Science, K-State Stephen Higgs, Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology, K-State Duy H. Hua, Department of Chemistry, K-State Andrew C. Isenberg, History, KU Ryszard Jankowiak, Chemistry, K-State Hartmut Jaeschke, Pharmacology, Toxicology & Therapeutics, KUMC Michael Kanost, Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, K-State Barbara A. Kerr, Educational Psychology, KU M.B. Kirkham, Agronomy, K-State Kimberly Kirkpatrick, Psychological Sciences, K-State Phillip E. Klebba, Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics, K-State John F. Leslie, Plant Pathology, K-State Richard E. Levy, Law, KU Susan Lunte, Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, KU Rolfe Mandel, Anthropology, KU Richard Marston, Emeritus, Geography, K-State Subbaratnam Muthukrishnan, Emeritus, Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics, K-State TG Nagaraja, Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology, K-State Joane Nagel, Sociology, KU Philip Nel, English, K-State David Nualart, Mathematics, KU Randolph J. Nudo, Rehabilitation Medicine, KUMC Berl Oakley, Molecular Biosciences, KU Rosemary O’Leary, School of Public Affairs and Administration, KU Dennis H. O’Rourke, Anthropology, KU Anil Pahwa, Electrical and Computer Engineering, K-State A. Townsend Peterson, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, KU William D. Picking, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, KU David C. Poole, Kinesiology, Anatomy and Physiology, K-State P.V. Vara Prasad, Agronomy, K-State Harald E.L. Prins, Emeritus, Anthropology, K-State Bharat Ratra, Physics, K-State Charles W. Rice, Agronomy, K-State Mabel L. Rice, Child Language Doctoral Program, KU Dan Rockhill, Architecture & Design, KU David Roediger, American Studies, KU Robert Rohrschneider, Political Science, KU Chistophe Royon, Physics and Astronomy, KU Christian Schoneich, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, KU Paul Selden, Emeritus, Geology, KU Prakash P. Shenoy, Business, KU James E. Sherow, Emeritus, History, K-State Tom Skrtic, Special Education, KU C. Michael Smith, Entomology, K-State Yan Soibelman, Mathematics, K-State Steven A. Soper, Chemistry, KU Christopher Sorensen, Physics, K-State Paulette Spencer, Mechanical Engineering, KU Brian S. Spooner, Biology, K-State S. G. Sterrett, Philosophy, WSU Sandra M. Stith, Emeritus, Applied Human Sciences, K-State Xiuzhi Susan Sun, Grain Science and Industry, K-State Karan S. Surana, Mechanical Engineering, KU Uwe Thumm, Physics, K-State Barbara Valent, Plant Pathology, K-State J. Douglas Walker, Geology, KU Stephen Ware, Law, KU Steven F. Warren, Speech, Language, Hearing Sciences and Disorders, KU Robert Warrior, American Studies and English, KU Mary A. Waters, English, WSU Ruth Welti, Biology, K-State Robert E. Weems, Jr., Business History, WSU Yong Zhao, Education, KU Kun Yan Zhu, Entomology, K-State Dean Zollman, Emeritus, Physics, K-State