In case you were wondering about the Republican vision for higher ed…

Just look to Kansas.

A plan to restructure the school and allow the firing of faculty members with only a 30-day notice is expected to be approved this week by the Kansas Board of Regents, which oversees the state’s higher education. If adopted, the “workforce management plan” would effectively suspend tenure for the fall 2022 semester.

A semester doesn’t seem like much, but it’s enough time to wreck careers and burn down programs that have taken decades to build. It’s enough time to change an institution that has contributed to the common good in Kansas for more than 150 years to one that is dedicated to … well, we just don’t know yet.

Yikes. We’re hired on a legal contract…but they can just tear it up and throw it away like that? How can they do that? Simple answer: Republicans.

There’s little doubt that the university’s move to end tenure is in response to pressure from the deeply conservative Kansas Legislature, and I’ve heard the former university provost Gary Wyatt say as much. Once, in a department meeting, he told us that legislators viewed tenured professors as “the enemy.” Then again, at a faculty address this fall, he said the campus would have to come to grips with the reality that we live in a state that is mostly Republican, with a legislature that is GOP dominated. How much clearer could he make it? To his credit, Wyatt is one of the few administrators willing to speak the truth on the issue.

They don’t care. They’re willing to wreck the state for their failed ideology. And the hired gun they employ to do the dirty work is the new president of the university, Ken Hush. How he was hired was appalling.

The same week KBOR extended the “workforce management” policy, it also hired a new president for Emporia State: Ken Hush. An ESU alum and former college tennis star, Hush had served as interim president since November 2021. Hush is a former CEO of Koch Carbon and, according to the Federal Election Commission database, a contributor of tens of thousands of dollars to KochPAC, which predominately funds conservative candidates for Congress.

Hush’s appointment as president came as a surprise to campus because many assumed a presidential search would select someone from the outside with an advanced degree. Hush holds a dual major bachelor’s, in business and marketing, making him the least academically credentialed of the leaders of the six universities in Kansas.

The presidential search process, unlike all previous searches at ESU, was a closed one, veiled in secrecy. There was no announcement of finalists or opportunities for faculty, students and staff to evaluate them, whoever they were. The chairman of the search committee was another former ESU tennis athlete, Greg Kossover — and a major donor to the new tennis complex on campus.

The selection of Hush at first seemed an odd fit.

Although he had served on the Wichita State University board of trustees, he didn’t have a deep background in public service in a classroom setting. He had run a Koch company that specialized in bulk commodities of coal and petroleum coke, and contributed heavily to a PAC that funded candidates who were often climate change deniers.

The libertarian Koch brothers, of course, kicked off the current culture war during the Obama years with their support of the Tea Party. The university and KBOR both refused to release a resume or curriculum vitae for Hush, something that most schools share with pride.

We’ve gone through several chancellors at my university during my tenure here, and every time, hiring a new one was a major effort involving a national search, multiple candidates, multiple interviews, faculty consultation, a thorough review of their qualifications, and draining amounts of work by a committee. This guy was just hired because the Koch’s said so?

Note to self: we currently have an acting chancellor, and I presume will eventually hire a different person. Thumbs down on any applicants from Kansas, unless they’re refugees with solid qualifications fleeing the imperial regime of Kochistan.


  1. AstroLad says

    Absolute best decision my parents ever made was to move back to California from Kansas before I was a year old. It was hard for a couple of years until Dad could get back into Douglas Aircraft, but it was worth it.

  2. raven says

    The GOP governing model is Stalinism.

    Why do they want to get rid of tenure?
    So they can have purges and get rid of ideologically incorrect thinkers.

    Next up, the refugees from the Kansas universities show up everywhere.
    I’ve seen a few good scientists from various Kansas universities.
    The operative word here is “from”. They did some good work and then left when they could.

  3. Artor says

    This is how you carve out a Third World shithole from an otherwise prosperous nation. Kansas is on a race to join Alabama at the bottom of the heap.

  4. birgerjohansson says

    In other words, they treat the universities the way the tories treat Britain; a toy to be wrecked.

  5. birgerjohansson says

    Fight evil with evil. Tell the Klansters Hush is paid by the jews.
    And I still favor my idea of inserting (right-wing asshole of choice) in a deepfake video with a burning koran, or in an incriminating situation with livestock, or both.
    If you look at how Dubya got rid of McCain as a rival, it may be sufficient to spread a rumor he has a black mistress.

  6. raven says

    Is this what the right wingnut fascists mean by cancel culture?

    They are going to cancel tenure, academic freedom, and have a witch hunt for liberals.
    The witches, oops I mean liberals, progressives, atheists, and commies will be what? Canceled, sent to Siberia, put in Gulag slave labor camps, put up against a wall and shot?

    The Soviet Union didn’t actually die, it just pops up in out of the way places like Kansas, Wisconsin, and Florida.

  7. Akira MacKenzie says

    I can’t read shit like this anymore without getting… militant. Things are so bad that I don’t think voting is going to fix this and we don’t have time to wait generations or centuries for remote chance that the sub-moron residents of Red State America will come to see reason.

  8. chrislawson says


    Bad idea! That kind of strategy doesn’t target well. The non-billionaire Jews will get run out of town and murdered while the Kochs and Hushes go about their business unhindered.

  9. seachange says

    The University of California is constitutionally the fourth branch of the California government. Gosh how different this is.