Emporia State University chairman defends performance lagniappes for ‘ high- performing faculty ’

TOPEKA — Emporia State University chairman Ken Hush defended the decision to award performance lagniappes to elect faculty members, complained about Kansas Reflector reporting and said the Emporia mayor’s commentary about the university “ can not be permitted ” in an “ open letter ” published Tuesday by the Emporia Gazette.

Kansas Reflector revealed last week that the university awarded $137.741 in performance lagniappes to 68 faculty members six weeks after firing tenured professors in a cost- saving move. Hush’s administration declined to respond to Kansas Reflector questions for that story.

Hush’s letter answers his own questions about the lagniappes but leaves other questions undetermined.

“ Did ESU award hires to fete high- performing faculty? Absolutely, ” Hush wrote. “ This isn’t the first time, and we’re absolutely going to do it again — gift and value recognition are part of our new model. Rewarding and retaining high players is our path forward at ESU. ”

Hush does n’t say how faculty members were chosen for a perk or how bone
amounts, which varied for each existent, were determined. It also is n’t clear when the university has preliminarily given this specific type of price to professors.

The payments were made against the background of contestation girding the university’s “ realignment ” plans, which involved blasting 33 faculty members, including tenured professors, under an exigency epidemic policy the Kansas Board of Regents unanimously approved. The university excluded multiple programs and invested in new bones without telling exploration to support the opinions.

In addition to satisfying university professors, the administration gave lagniappes to speakers, preceptors, adjunct professors, associate professors, a visiting professor and a visiting adjunct professor.

In his letter, Hush said the university chose to “ award high players ” because it’s the right thing to do. He praised “ certain faculty ” who freely accepted fresh work.

“ The old processes and programs failed to allow academic leadership to award faculty for over and beyond performance, ” Hush wrote. “ To indicate that faculty entered hires for any other reason than because of their hard work and for the value they add to the university is disgusting. ”

Kansas Reflector’s report included commentary from Emporia Mayor Susan Brinkman, who was critical of the university’s lack of translucency.

Brinkman, a former ESU faculty member whose job at the university was excluded in 2021, said the decision to award lagniappes after publicizing the realignment plan “ gives the vision, whether it’s true or not, that they’re paying for your silence or for your support of the plan. ”

Hush said he was dissatisfied the mayor “ would intimately affront ” ESU workers.

“ As a prophet for our community, reckless statements like this are inferior and can not be permitted, ” Hush wrote. “ Their only purpose is to damage the university and the collaborative connections between ESU and our indigenous community. further should be anticipated of the person who serves as our mayor. ”

Brinkman said she did n’t know how to interpret Hush’s commentary.

“ Is it a trouble? Am I being bullied? I’ve no idea, ” Brinkman said.

The mayor said it was delicate to be informed about the university’s conduct when the university refuses to respond to inquiries from media, the public or her.

still, also I’m happy to take the review in stride as a public menial, ” Brinkman said, “ If my commentary to media inquiries are the demanded targets for chairman Hush to feel comfortable at last giving us open and transparent dialogue.

Kansas Reflector has reported on the university’s realignment plans through news stories and opinion papers since the launch of the academy time. The university has been given an occasion to note on news stories and generally did — except for stories about action.

Kansas Reflector filed a request under the Kansas Open Records Act on March 1 for “ records sufficient to identify the names and titles of faculty who have entered performance lagniappes during the current academic time, as well as the date and quantum of those lagniappes. ” The university asked for$ 700 to fulfill the request, claiming that the records would bear 20 hours of staff time at$ 35 per hour. Kansas Reflector paid the figure after entering an outpour of donations from compendiums .

The university handed 136 runners of documents in response to the request and an$87.50 refund because the work was completed with2.5 hours to spare.

Spokesman Gwen Larson did n’t respond to emails seeking comment about performance lagniappes before Kansas Reflector published its story on April 5. As with other news stories, Kansas Reflector included commentary from those who are critical of the university.

Hush said he was surprised “ at the patient sluice of damaging misinformation being driven by a small group’s extremely limited perspectives and particular dockets. ”

“ That’s incompletely why we’ve made the decision to be picky about when and how we respond to colorful media outlets, ” Hush said. “ We admire the media and their part but choose not to engage with op- ed papers disguised as ‘ news ’ that are driven by particular dockets full of vicious allegations. Because of our public responsibility to those we represent, and as a state agency of Kansas, we’ve chosen to be professional, and as a result have remained politely silent. On this issue, still, it’s our duty to speak up and defend our workers. ”