4/30: University statement provided to Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor
Budget proviso by Sen. Susan Wagle, 3/26/03
On March 26, State Senator Susan Wagle proposed the following proviso as an amendment to the FY2004 appropriations bill. The language was accepted by the Senate, approved by a joint conference committee, and adopted in the final version of the bill (SB 6):
[(i) During the fiscal year ending June 30, 2004, no department or division within any university under the jurisdiction and control of the state board of regents or any such university shall expend any moneys as part of a human sexuality class or other similar class for undergraduate students for the purchase or display of any videos as part of or incident to such a class which are obscene as defined by K.S.A. 21-4301 and amendments thereto: Provided, That upon any violation of this subsection the state board of regents shall direct the immediate termination of the expenditure of moneys for any such department or division within such university.]
Statement by Kansas Board of Regents
Since the Wagle proviso applies to all Kansas Board of Regents institutions, the Board discussed the matter and unanimously approved the following statement on April 17 regarding legislative action as it relates to course content on university campuses:
"Recent legislative action has focused attention on the content of courses offered at our state universities -- in particular, the content of a human sexuality course offered at the University of Kansas. We believe that decisions regarding curriculum, particular course content, and other academic matters are best addressed by the policies established by the Kansas Board of Regents.
The Board has in place a policy that requires each of its campuses to provide mechanisms through which complaints can be investigated and action taken to address legitimate concerns. Each of the universities has such mechanisms in place. Regrettably, the complaint that prompted this legislative action was not submitted to that process prior to that action. The Board is confident that current policies, which seek to resolve these issues at the institutional level, are sufficient to respond to concerns that may arise regarding these matters.
Given the existence of such policies, we believe the amendment to the Board of Regents state general fund appropriation that seeks to dictate university course content is unwarranted. We therefore urge Governor Sebelius to exercise her line item veto authority and strike the university course content proviso that has been included in the recently enacted appropriations bill."
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Veto Message by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, 4/21/03
After reviewing the issue and receiving input, Governor Sebelius vetoed the Wagle proviso on April 21, stating:
"In a democracy, academic freedom in higher education is essential.
Nevertheless, every institution of higher learning in Kansas has an obligation to exercise its academic freedom responsibly. The Kansas Board of Regents has in place well-established policies and procedures to provide redress for students, parents, and taxpayers who question the educational value or appropriateness of any material used in the institutions of higher learning under the authority of the Board of Regents. Following such policies and procedures will resolve concerns within the appropriate exercise of academic freedom.
Therefore, I veto the above proviso as an inappropriate use of legislative powers designed to impinge upon academic freedom in the State of Kansas."
Second budget proviso by Sen. Wagle, 5/2/03
2003 Kansas Senate Journal, page 855, May 2, 2003
Senator Wagle amended, adopted on voice vote, S Sub for HB 2444, on page 28, following line 27, by inserting
' '(c) In addition to the other purposes for which expenditures may be made by the state
board of regents for fiscal year 2004, expenditures shall be made by the above agency to
assure that each university under the jurisdiction and control of the state board of regents
develops a policy on the use of sexually explicit materials, including videos, as part of the
curriculum of human sexuality classes or other similar classes for undergraduate students,
a policy on teaching about the issue of pedophilia as part of such classes and a policy on
sexual harassment as it relates to teaching such classes: Provided, That such policies shall
be developed and implemented prior to January 12, 2004, and the state board of regents
shall keep on file a current copy of such policies
University statement provided to Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, 4/30/03
The University of Kansas prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace and the classroom. We also do not condone obscenity at the university in any form. Complaints alleging sexual harassment or obscenity, such as the charges made by Senator Wagle against Professor Dailey, are taken seriously.
In the more than 20 years that Dailey has taught the class - with an estimated 15,000 students -- this is the first formal complaint we have received. Nonetheless, the matter is now under investigation and, for that reason, we will not comment on the merits of the complaint.
Consistent with Kansas Board of Regents policy, we are following an established due process procedure, one that is systematic and fair to all parties. The investigation will be full and complete, and we will do everything possible to ensure that the rights of both students and faculty are protected.
It is important to note that Senator Wagle did not raise her concerns with the University until after she initiated legislative action.
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