The University of Kansas Faculty Senate voted to approve a ‘lack of confidence’ resolution in Chancellor Douglas Girod and Provost Barbara Bichelmeyer last month, according to the resolution.
The resolution noted the major budget shortfall facing the university and criticized Girod and Bichelmeyer for not meaningfully engaging with faculty, staff and students in dealing with the shortfall.
“There is significant distrust and lack of confidence in the current administration, which threatens to seed adversarial relations, tear apart our community, and jeopardize our ability as a University to respond constructively and collectively to these extraordinary budget concerns,” the resolution said.
The resolution highlights failures from the provost and chancellor in engaging with shared governance or collaboration between KU’s administration and the Faculty, Staff and Student Senates in decision making processes, as well as defending faculty and staff rights and preserving and promoting “the identity of KU as a comprehensive research institution,” the resolution said.
When the resolution was initially proposed among the Faculty Senate, it was in response to KU leadership’s unwillingness to reject a Kansas Board of Regents policy, allowing for tenured faculty members to be terminated in order to deal with the budget shortfall.
“Most faculty remain unhappy with the policy and are deeply concerned that KU’s administration has resolutely refused to reject it outright,” Faculty Senate President Lua Kamal Yuille said in a closing video message as she wrapped up her term as president. “Faculty Senate has urged the chancellor and provost not to pursue the policy.”
The resolution laid out five requests to the provost and chancellor going forward, including committing to shared governance, upholding tenure as essential to the university, committing to greater transparency, adopting budget solutions that minimize cuts to university programs and personnel and regularly consulting with faculty, staff and students in making decisions.
“We remain committed to work collaboratively with the administration to find alternatives that work for us and serve us all,” Yuille said. “We have asked for formal shared governance processes to be activated and utilized from the beginning of decision making.”