For TMN, I am Tim Abrams.
The Kansas Board of Regents, as part of their meetings on the Fort Hays State campus, requested a meeting with the Fort Hays State University Faculty Senate. To their surprise, the discussions in the meeting went from being normal concerns to grievances against the current FHSU President Mirta Martin.
Hays Daily News reports that the meeting was around 20 minutes longer than expected and mainly focused on the faculty’s lack of trust in President Mirta Martin’s leadership capabilities. Faculty Senate President Carl Miller provided many of the issues, which included: enrollment limit for courses being increased, overload courses and overall student education.
Miller stated in the meeting that many of the faculty are afraid of addressing these issues publicly, because of possible repercussions. Many faculty members have recently started to lose trust in Martin’s leading abilities. Miller stated that many attributes such as cronyism, administrative bloat, mismanagement and Martin’s behavior toward people in meetings among the faculty’s concerns.
President Martin recently proposed to the Faculty Senate an increase in the cap of students allowed in a class. The average cap increase would allow up to 50 students for every class as well as shift overloaded classes to adjunct faculty. In return, faculty would receive a percentage of their contracted pay for every overloaded class they would take on.
One of the more interesting notes in the meeting was a survey (that Miller provided) which detailed that around 66% of faculty would leave FHSU if they could find other opportunities elsewhere. Miller noted that not all faculty was surveyed and some are not mainly concerned about their own salaries or pay. He, in fact, said that many are worried about what these caps would mean for student education. Miller elaborated by saying that Martin could not show data for how much money the university could save in this move, and that hiring adjuncts could possibly affect the quality of instruction offered by the university.
In a previous meeting, the Faculty Senate approved a resolution that opposed cap increases and the overloads. Miller stated at the meeting with the Kansas Board of Regents that he had received 50 pages of concerns submitted by the faculty who took the survey.
Earlier in the week, Hays Daily News conducted an interview with Mirta Martin who said: “I am a public servant, and I am running a public institution. It is part of my moral responsibility to be able to account, to be a good steward of the public tax dollar”.
Although the Regents listened intently and curiously, they did not take any action.