University of Kansas

The Emmett Till Memory Project

In 1955, Emmett Till — a black Chicago teenager visiting his relatives in Mississippi — was brutally murdered after reportedly whistling at a white woman. The 14-year-old was abducted, beaten, shot and dumped into the Tallahatchie River with a 75-pound cotton-gin fan tied with barbed wire around his neck.

University of Kansas professor Dave Tell wrote an article contradicting a 50-year-old version of the crime that had been spelled out in Look magazine. This eventually led him to start the Emmett Till Memory Project. Tell recently spoke with KMUW's Carla Eckels about the project and the 63-year-old murder case that helped spark the civil rights movement.

Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

Seven years ago, a toxic form of algae bloomed in Milford Lake near Junction City. Kansas had never really seen a bloom quite like it before. It lasted for almost three months and has returned every summer since.

The event set state scientists looking for what spurred the blue-green algae, scientifically known as cyanobacteria, and how to stop the return of what is essentially killer pond scum.

Update: Thursday afternoon, Secretary of State Kris Kobach called for the controversial flag artwork be removed from public display at the Spencer Museum of Art altogether. Gov. Jeff Colyer was the first to raise the issue in opening remarks during a gubernatorial debate Thursday evening, saying the artwork should be "sent back to sender" and that taxpayer-funded institutions, such as KU, should not be used as a venue to "desecrate our flag." 

Responding to criticism from elected officials and political candidates, University of Kansas officials have taken down an altered American flag displayed on campus as part of a nationwide art project.

KU Chancellor Douglas Girod issued the order late Wednesday after Republican Gov. Jeff Colyer learned of the flag exhibit and demanded its removal.

“The disrespectful display of a desecrated American flag on the KU campus is absolutely unacceptable,” Colyer said in a news release earlier in the day. “I demand that it be taken down immediately.”

University of Arkansas

The University of Kansas will hire former Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long to lead its athletic department.

KU announced Thursday that Long will replace Sheahon Zenger, who was fired May 21. Zenger was KU's athletic director for nearly seven years. He received a $1.4 million severance package.

Long was athletic director at Arkansas from 2008 to 2017 before being fired last November amid criticism over the football team's performance. The Razorbacks, who also fired coach Brett Bielema, went 4-8 last season.

Wichita State University / Facebook

Tuition at public universities in Kansas is going up. School officials blame the increase on rising costs and years of dwindling state funding alongside flat enrollment.

The hikes all fall below the 3.1 percent average increase for state universities across the nation last year. Still, most Kansas public universities received increases above the nation’s inflation rate of about 2 percent.

Tristan Bowersox / Flickr Creative Commons

The University of Kansas is offering a three-year path to a bachelor’s degree.

The “Degree In Three” program is a partnership between KU, six school districts and three community colleges. Students will begin earning college credit in high school. They will then be able to complete an associate’s degree in one year at one of the partnering community colleges and finish their final two years at KU.

J. Schafer / KPR

The University of Kansas fired its athletic director on Monday.

Sheahon Zenger has led KU’s athletic department since 2011. In a letter to the KU community, Chancellor Douglas Girod said KU athletics has failed to make progress in “key areas."

Public universities in Kansas are proposing tuition hikes significantly lower than some of the larger increases seen in recent years. The schools presented the plans to the Kansas Board of Regents this week.

The increases in tuition and fees for in-state, undergraduate students range from 1.2 percent at Kansas State University to 3 percent at the University of Kansas.

The University of Kansas is being criticized for retaining former Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little at a salary of more than half a million dollars

But the arrangement is far from unusual in Kansas.

Since it was revealed that former University of Kansas Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little was still on the payroll as a consultant, there have been questions about exactly what she is doing for her $510,000 salary.

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