After last week, calling this the spring semester seems like a stretch.
I want to thank the men and women of Facilities Operations, Parking & Transit, KUMC Facilities Management and everyone else who helped our campuses dig out from the recent blizzard. I also want to thank all those employees who kept the essential functions of the university running during the storm, including staff from Student Health Services, Student Housing, KU Memorial Unions and our public safety offices at KU and KUMC. It was cold but critical work, and we truly appreciate everything you do for the university community.
Service to others is central to our mission. We serve our students by inspiring them to reach their full potential. We serve the world through scholarly and creative endeavors that enhance quality of life and create jobs and prosperity. And we serve society through the work of countless individuals on our campuses, around the state, and all over the globe.
As a state university, we have a responsibility to the people of Kansas. KU works for Kansas in a wide range of ways, some of which you can read about at www.kuworks.ku.edu. That website and the accompanying newspaper inserts and billboards in several communities highlight just a few of the benefits we provide to Kansans.
From bringing treatments to cancer patients closer to home through the KU Cancer Center and Midwest Cancer Alliance, to training the law enforcement officers who keep us safe, Kansans see direct benefits from the work of our university. These and other examples figure prominently in our conversations with legislators, as do the benefits that come from the students we educate and the research we conduct.
Indeed, today marks the start of the Science Serving Kansas series, where KU researchers meet with legislators over pizza and share the benefits of their work. We held similar lunches last year and they were very well received by lawmakers who appreciate knowing more about how KU research benefits their constituents, boosts economic activity and enriches the world with important discoveries.
Speaking of the Statehouse, I know recent discussions in Topeka about potential salary cuts have generated concern on our campuses. Those proposals have since been narrowed, but still would have negative and unintended effects on our ability to carry out our mission. Fortunately, it is still early in the process and we will continue to advocate for KU’s employees and the valuable work you do.
I know that many of you make visits to the Statehouse, or contact policymakers by phone or in writing. I encourage those efforts and remind you that when you contact legislators and other state leaders, please do so outside of work hours and use your own resources, such as using personal e-mail.
Stay warm, and thank you for your work on behalf of our students and state.