Kansas Board of Regents

College students in Kansas will see their tuition bills increase next year after the Kansas Board of Regents voted Wednesday to raise rates. 

The overall tuition and fee increases for undergraduate resident students in Kansas range from 2.5 percent at Fort Hays State University to more than 5 percent at Kansas State. Regents Chairman Fred Logan says this is the lowest increase in 13 years.

"It's always a tough job balancing access and excellence and I think we've done a pretty nice job of that here," says Logan.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

The Kansas Board of Regents on Wednesday finalized a controversial social media policy that places broad limits on employees and is being criticized as one of the most restrictive in the country.

Regents Chairman Fred Logan, speaking to a packed meeting in Topeka, defended the policy, claiming it will shore up academic freedom by creating more specific guidelines.

Wikimedia -- CC

The Kansas Board of Regents has decided to add a free speech provision to a controversial social media policy, a decision criticized as “window dressing.”

Regent Chairman Fred Logan, who along with the rest of the board has come under fire nationally from professors and First Amendment advocates, said during a board meeting this week that he does not believe the policy restricts staff and faculty from openly expressing their opinions, the Lawrence Journal-World reports.

Alyson Raletz/KCUR

 The line between individual social media activity and employment status isn’t a clear one, according to feedback we received this week from listeners.

When we asked “Should your boss be able to fire you for what you tweet?” on the air and online, the responses showed the issue of social media and the workplace as a divisive one in Kansas City.  

We received many emphatic yeses, citing personal responsibility.

The Kansas Board of Regents’ new social media policy for university personnel is at the center of heated debate, both inside and outside the education world.

In the second part of Wednesday's Up to Date, we talk about the pros and cons of the policy.

Guests:

Laura Spencer / KCUR

The Kansas Board of Regents this week approved the renovation and expansion plans for the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas.

The building where the museum is housed opened to the public in 1978, and according to a news release, the collection has grown by more than 250 percent. This includes the nearly 10,000 objects transferred to the Spencer's holdings in 2007, with the closing of the KU Museum of Anthropology, and other acquisitions.

The Kansas Board of Regents has approved a budget request that asks for restoration of millions of dollars in cuts. Lawmakers cut more than $30 million from the higher education budget last legislative session.

The cuts to higher education were made to across-the-board spending, and funding for salaries.

Lawmakers passed a two-year budget last session, but members of the Board or Regents said they have a responsibility to advocate for increased investment in higher ed. The regents backed off a proposal that would have promised flat tuition if the cuts were reversed.

The Kansas Board of Regents will be talking about budget issues this week. This comes in the wake of funding cuts to higher education made earlier this year.

Writing a budget proposal for something as large and complex as the university system takes multiple steps. Mary Jane Stankiewicz with the Board of Regents says university officials have made their proposals to the board. Now the regents will work on distilling that into one plan.

“This will be a discussion and a determination of what items should be forwarded to the governor for consideration,” says Stankiewicz.

Laura Spencer / KCUR

After more than 20 years of showing rotating artwork, mostly of local artists, an exhibition program at University of Kansas Medical Center has closed. Officials say it’s the impact of steep cuts to state funding. And the KU Chancellor defended the school's commitment to free speech Tuesday. But others are calling it censorship. 

Inside and outside the library

A Democratic state senator from Topeka says Gov. Sam Brownback is packing the Kansas Board of Regents with too many Republicans.

State law requires that no more than five of the nine regents belong to the same political party. The senator says Brownback's recent appointments violate the spirit of that law.

Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley said this week that the governor is skirting the rules because one of the new appointees changed his registration from Republican to unaffiliated in February.

Brownback says Hensley’s criticism is not accurate.

University leadership from around the state met with the Kansas Board of Regents today to discuss how to adjust to nearly $49 million in cuts from the state’s higher education budget.

The move was approved by lawmakers over the weekend, and include cuts to the state’s six universities in addition to community colleges, technical colleges and Washburn University. Cuts were also made to student financial assistance programs, the Board of Regents Office, and adult education programs Board Spokesperson Vanessa Lamoreaux said.

Kansas Board of Regents members say they will study the issue of allowing guns on campuses, but for now they'll continue barring concealed weapons.

A bill signed into law this week by the governor would allow legally carried concealed weapons in most public buildings, unless the buildings meet certain security requirements. The new law takes effect July 1st, but universities can exempt themselves from the requirement for four years.

Regent Fred Logan says they don't have time to thoroughly study the issue by July 1st.