Myers, Taber hold town hall to discuss campus COVID-19 updates, budget

Friday morning, President Richard Myers and Provost Charles Taber held a virtual town hall meeting for faculty to openly discuss Kansas State's budget. (Kaylie McLaughlin | Collegian Media Group)

Friday morning, President Richard Myers and Provost Charles Taber held a virtual town hall meeting for faculty to openly discuss Kansas State’s budget, along with the latest campus update of COVID-19 from Dr. Kyle Goerl.

Goerl, medical director at Lafene Health Center, said things are finally looking encouraging based on the latest statistics in the Manhattan area.

“Overall, since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve done almost 20,000 tests,” Goerl said. “Quarantine numbers and isolation numbers are down a bit in the last week as well.”

Additionally, Dr. Goerl said faculty will receive a survey from Lafene as early as this weekend to stratify individuals into the different vaccination phases.

“I hope that we can move through these phases quickly, but we can only go so fast as the county allows us to,” Goerl said. “We have to stay in lock-step with the county, so if the county is on phase two, and we’ve run through all of our phase two individuals on campus, we cannot move on to phase three until the county is ready to do so.”

Following Goerl’s update, Myers and Taber answered questions about K-State’s budget.

Question: How will we ensure the decisions we make to cut expenses and increase revenue are based on facts that recognize the systemic impacts of the decisions rather than the approximations in our budget model?

“When we take any action in the budget model, we use the best data we can get our hands on,” Myers said. “I think we’ve done a pretty good job, frankly in my opinion, of trying to what is right for the university, even though we are in a really serious financial situation.”

“We are committed to working with shared governance to address the difficult challenges that our university faces,” Taber said.

When will the budget situation be announced? Are further furloughs/layoffs anticipated? Will the university handbook model be used in such a situation?

“We don’t know definitively,” Myers said. “We have to wait and see how our enrollment turns out this spring … I don’t want to be too optimistic here, we have serious issues with our financing both enrollment standpoint and state budget.”

“We value tenure, and we always will,” Myers said. “Tenure is an important part of how we operate at Kansas State University, so we have no plans on advocating to go away with tenure.”

The next virtual town hall meeting is from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Apr. 1.

My name is Sean Schaper, and I'm the news editor for the Collegian. I’m a junior in journalism with a secondary focus in film studies. I grew up right outside of Kansas City in Leawood, Kansas. As a first-generation K-Stater, I look forward to leaving behind accurate coverage for the current and future Wildcat community.