KBOR approves temporary policy allowing universities more power in terminating employees - even if they’re on tenure

Published: Jan. 21, 2021 at 8:53 AM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The Kansas Board of Regents unanimously endorsed a policy that would allow university CEOs more power to terminate employees – even if they’re tenured.

The regents endorsed this new policy due to budget shortfalls from COVID-19 in higher education. Some even cited cuts to higher education in Gov. Laura Kelly’s proposed budget.

In order for the policy to take place for universities, those universities will need to set a framework, approved by the board, of how they will make that sort of decision under the new provision.

“This particular policy would apply to university employees across the board,” KBOR General Counsel Julene Miller said when asked what made the new policy different than the board’s previous termination policy. “What we currently have for different types of employees is different.”

The new policy would be effective immediately and end Dec. 31, 2021. University CEOs would have to give a 30 day notice before terminating an employee.

“This will give them an option,” Regent Cheryl Harrison-Lee said.

This new proposal did not come without pushback.

“I do want to express a lot of grave concern about this policy,” Aleksander Sternfeld-Dunn, with the Faculty Senate Presidents Council, said. Sternfeld-Dunn is also a professor at Wichita State University.

“I think it will get national attention.”

Sternfeld-Dunn said there were other ways the board and universities could address financial issues caused by COVID-19.

He also said the new policy could cause lawsuits for discrimination and harassment.

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