The president of Emporia State University gained the authority from the Kansas Board of Regents to "suspend, dismiss, terminate" any university employee, KSNT News reported.
Ken Hush, the president, still wants the Faculty Senate to approve a document outlining the new authority.
The university is not facing financial exigency, the document acknowledged. That is the standard by which the American Association of University Professors says tenure faculty jobs may be eliminated.
But the document said that Emporia State is suffering from “extreme financial pressures placed on universities due to the COVID-19 pandemic [and] decreased program and university enrollment." From 2017 through 2021, Emporia State’s enrollment has declined by 24 percent.
Students held a protest against possible cuts on Wednesday, chanting "stop the cuts."
Michael Morales, an associate professor and Faculty Senate member at the university, said he understood the students' concerns. “If the president says it’s for the students’ benefit, that’s not correct…. The current students now, some of them, will suffer a lot,” Morales said. “Their programs will be cut, their majors will be cut, their departments will be subsumed with other departments.”