9/24/2004

Documents released today



Contact: Lynn Bretz, University Relations, (785) 864-3256

Statement by KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway
RE: Employment agreements for the KU Athletics Director and Open Records

LAWRENCE -- Chancellor Hemenway delivered the following remarks at a press conference today at the Horejsi Family Athletics Center on the KU campus regarding the university's response to the recent open records ruling:

As you know, the university has been in litigation over the issue of whether some employment documents are subject to the state Open Records Act.

When the Act was passed, the legislature allowed for some documents to be exempted. The issue has been over which employment documents those are.

In 1993, the Regents universities received a Kansas attorney general's advisory letter which said that employment contracts are not subject to release under the Open Records Act, and contingent compensation contracts are not subject to release either.

That is the principle that the university has followed and has been trying to protect because we felt it was appropriate.

When Lew Perkins was hired, we entered into two contracts, one pertaining to his annual compensation, and another referring to contingent compensation he would receive if he stayed as Athletic Director until 2009.

KU has shared all compensation arrangements in the first contract, with the exception of a small provision that is contingent upon performance.

The litigation has been over the second contract.

As you know, the Court has now ruled. We will obey the Court and share all of the information.

Lew has wanted to do this from the first, but we asked him not to because we felt the principle was important -- public employees should have some right to privacy.

We hold no animosity toward the Kansas Press Association, the Associated Press, or the Lawrence Journal-World. They have their jobs to do. We have our jobs to do.

We felt it was important enough to ask the Court's opinion and the Court has given that opinion.

We will make all information public and answer any questions you have.

I would just emphasize two points. First, only $165,000 of state money is included in Lew Perkins compensation. Second, Lew Perkins is one of the best AD's in the United States. He is well compensated, as you would expect him to be.

I am very proud that Lew is our AD, and I think he is worth every penny he receives.

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