Kansas Governor Laura Kelly: Students and faculty deserve an open search process

Governor Kelly said that the community deserves to not be left out of Wichita State’s next presidential search.

Governor+of+Kansas+Laura+Kelly+answers+questions+during+an+interview+with+The+Sunflower+on+Monday%2C+Oct.+19.+Kelly+came+to+Wichita+State%27s+campus+to+speak+at+the+opening+of+the+new+Molecular+Diagnostics+Lab+in+the+John+Bardo+Center.+

Morgan Anderson

Governor of Kansas Laura Kelly answers questions during an interview with The Sunflower on Monday, Oct. 19. Kelly came to Wichita State’s campus to speak at the opening of the new Molecular Diagnostics Lab in the John Bardo Center.

In an interview with The Sunflower Monday, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly said that the Board of Regents should heavily consider an open search process for the next president.

“I believe in accountability, I believe in transparency,” Kelly said.

The university spent roughly $129,000 on the closed search process where they ultimately selected Golden as president. After Golden’s resignation in September, members of the Faculty Senate voiced their hopes that WSU would hold an open presidential search to select the next president. 

Kelly said the suddenness of Golden’s resignation should show the university that an open search process is best.

“I would be very surprised if the Board of Regents and Wichita State University don’t recognize the importance of that particularly given the suddenness [of Golden’s resignation],” Kelly said. 

“I believe the community deserves reassurance that there will be resolution.”

Kelly met with former President Jay Golden on Sept. 9, 16 days before his resignation. Kelly said Golden gave no hint to her about his resignation during the meeting.

“He only had been there a number of months at the time we had that conversation,” Kelly said. “It really was just a getting to know you and for the president to give me a sense of what he wanted to do here [and] where he wanted to take this university … there was no conversation [about him resigning].”

Kelly also talked about Kansans’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“[Kansas] has stepped up by and large, stepped up to deal with this issue,” she said. “When I think about when we ordered the schools to close their buildings back in march, how teachers came together with parents and really developed an alternative learning environment.”

“Kansas has just done what they can do [to help].”

Kelly was on campus to speak at the new Molecular Diagnostic Lab opening event held at the John Bardo Center. In her public address, she commended universities for their work during the COVID-19 crisis. 

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our state’s colleges and universities have been at the forefront of new initiatives to help our state and our country litigate the virus’s spread and its harmful effects,” Kelly said.

PHOTOS: Governor Laura Kelly visits WSU’s campus for Molecular Diagnostics Lab opening