Muma: WSU is not planning to utilize the new KBOR policy regarding faculty suspensions


Lena Alhallaq/ The Sunflower

President Rick Muma converses among the guests during the groundbreaking celebration for Wayne and Kay Woolsey Hall on Oct. 22.

Interim University President Rick Muma has no intention of utilizing the new Kansas Board of Regents temporary policy that allows him to suspend any faculty, he said during a town hall with faculty Monday. 

The new KBOR policy— which is an effect until Dec. 2022— has faced a substantial amount of backlash since it was passed by the board Wednesday.

“Any policy that revokes tenured faculty puts faculty in a position where they can be terminated just for having opposing viewpoints, they could be fired for being outspoken against a policy or a procedure, they could be fired because their research is considered controversial at the moment,” Sternfeld-Dunn said in an interview with The Sunflower. 

Muma said that thanks to the university’s work on managing their finances, he doesn’t believe utilizing the policy will be necessary. 

“I told [KBOR] that we would not be utilizing [the policy],” Muma said. “The processes we always used to make cuts— reallocate, raise tuition — that’s always worked for us.

“We know where we are, we know where our gaps are, [and] we know how to fill those.”

Wichita State is currently in the middle of its next presidential search. Chair of the search committee Dan Peare said that the university could likely announce the new president by summer — while the temporary policy is in place. Muma said it is unclear if the next president will be able to utilize the policy.

“The real intention of this policy is to make this temporary, and to allow institutions to make more flexibility to manage their finances,” Muma said. “Your question is really will the next person who comes to be the permanent president, will they be able to do this.

“I hope not.”

Faculty member Chase Billingham encouraged faculty serving on the search committee to make sure that whomever is recommended for presidency has no interest in using the new policy.

“It would be my hope …  that there would be no candidates recommended for that job, who does not give an explicit answer saying that they will not implement this policy if they’re selected,” Billingham said.

The Faculty Senate will discuss endorsing a statement by the council of faculty presidents in regard to the policy during their first meeting of the semester Monday, Feb. 1.