University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas Girod has announced that the university has no plans to exercise the controversial dismissal policy that makes it easier to suspend tenured faculty.
Girod told the Kansas Board of Regents that the university has a better understanding of its financial situation, and that one-time federal funding will help alleviate some of the “immediate financial strains” that led the administration to consider the policy, the Lawrence Journal-World reported.
In a written message delivered to regents, Girod added that the university still has a long way to go before it can declare itself financially stable.
“Even without using the policy, we still have a great deal of work to do and bear a significant responsibility to correct our fiscal trajectory,” Girod explained. “We intend to work together with academic, administrative and governance leaders to develop long-term solutions in the spirit of stewardship of the university.”
Dismissing Tenured Faculty to Ease Financial Constraints?
The controversial policy was first approved by the Kansas Board of Regents in January as a means to address financial constraints that worsened because of the coronavirus pandemic. While all five of the state’s other public universities immediately refused, the University of Kansas said it needed time to consider the policy.
This immediately prompted backlash from faculty members, students, alumni, and others. A statement by faculty and staff, as well as a solidarity statement from other individuals expressing their disagreement with the policy was released soon after.
Simply atrocious. So many of our universities/colleges are so obvious about harming us, their “educational missions,” and stealing students’ money.
— Dr. Johanna Mellis (@JohannaMellis) January 26, 2021
“Procedures already exist to make decisions according to financial exigency as part of shared governance,” the statement read. “The regents now allow administrators to bypass the established process and eliminate faculty’s structural role in it.”