Earlier this week, the Kansas Board of Regents approved a temporary policy that gives universities flexibility in suspending, dismissing or terminating employees in light of the historic financial challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The policy requires that any university intending to enact suspensions, dismissals or terminations must first present to the Board for approval a decision-making framework. That framework must be submitted to the Board within the next 45 days.
In light of this new policy, I have asked Provost Bichelmeyer and Executive Vice Chancellor Simari to reach out to university governance, academic administrators, faculty and staff across the university to determine if and how this policy may enable us to address budget challenges while prioritizing our mission. We will need your advice and expertise as we evaluate this policy and consider developing criteria and processes to submit to the Regents.
Beyond that, we will need your continued understanding of the unprecedented budget challenges we face. As we have consistently communicated to you, KU faces a projected Fiscal Year 2022 shortfall of $74.6 million – which could worsen depending on state funding – that will require us to eliminate programs and departments, reduce services, and implement furloughs and layoffs. While this will not be easy, it is unavoidable given the financial challenges facing KU and other universities across the country.
With your assistance, together we will determine how this new Regents policy may help us address financial challenges while prioritizing the level of excellence demanded of an Association of American Universities institution.
Douglas A. Girod