The University of Kansas will not use the controversial Kansas Board of Regents policy that would allow for tenured faculty to be terminated in order to relieve financial pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Chancellor Douglas Girod told the Board of Regents Thursday.
Future federal aid played a key role in the decision against implementing the policy, Provost Barbara Bichelmeyer said in a message to KU faculty and staff Thursday.
"The anticipated receipt of additional federal emergency aid — though one-time and restricted funding — helps alleviate some of the immediate pressure we face on our Lawrence campus, and allows additional time to implement the changes necessary to address our long-term challenges," Bichelmeyer said.
Earlier in the year, KU Faculty Senate held a town hall and several discussions with Bichelmeyer and Girod protesting their refusal to reject the policy. Faculty Senators also passed a 'lack of confidence' resolution in Bichelmeyer and Girod in response to the policy.
“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.
While KU won't implement the KBOR policy, the financial struggles from the pandemic and before are not gone, Bichelmeyer said.
"While this announcement brings us some relief, we still have a great deal of work to do and bear a significant responsibility to correct our fiscal trajectory," Bichelmeyer said.
Bichelmeyer pointed to CFO Jeff Dewitt's analysis from April that KU had a structural deficit of $50 million as evidence of existing financial struggles. KU's recent budget cuts are expected to reduce the structural deficit by half in the coming year.
The expected emergency aid funds from the federal government coupled with the reduction of the structural deficit through budget cuts led to the decision to reject the KBOR policy, Bichelmeyer said.