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Questions surround resignation of Wichita State president ahead of search for new leader

Published: Sep. 25, 2020 at 2:31 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 28, 2020 at 5:31 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Update Monday, Sept. 28, 2020: A less-than 100-word statement from the Kansas Board of Regents is about all there is to go off of when it comes to answering questions into why Dr. Jay Golden stepped down as Wichita State University’s president after leading the university for less than one year.

A year after the last search for Wichita State’s president was ending with the selection of Dr. Golden to replace the late Dr. John Bardo. a new search is about to begin.

Mark Hutton is a Kansas Board of Regents member and part of the presidential search committee that selected Dr. Golden last year. Hutton said the next steps are selecting options for finding potential candidates, such as whether to use an open-application process or a search firm.

“We don’t want to rush it, make sure that we make the best decision. So I do not anticipate we’re going to be in a big rush to replace Dr. Golden,” Hutton said.

Students who spoke with Eyewitness News following the announcement of Dr. Golden’s departure said in many ways, the ideal candidate should resemble Dr. Golden.

"He was actually a pretty good leader Wichita State University freshman Kaysi Putnam said. “I’m from Texas, so when I came down here to visit, I actually got to meet him and he was a pretty nice guy. In a new president, I guess, I want to see kind of the same qualities.”

The Kansas Board of Regents' next meeting is set for next month. Last year, the search for Dr. Golden lasted several months and cost about $100,000. In an effort to gain some insight into Dr. Golden’s sudden departure, Eyewitness News filed a Kansas Open Records Request with Wichita State.

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Friday, Sept. 25, 2020:

After less than a year on the job, Wichita State University President Jay Golden is stepping down.

Golden took over at WSU in January when he replaced former President John Bardo who died last spring. His hire came after a lengthy search process from the university. WSU spent more than $100,000 in that search process.

Kansas Board of Regents Chair Bill Feuerborn on Friday has issued the following statement regarding Golden’s resignation:

"Wichita State University President Jay Golden has submitted his resignation to the Kansas Board of Regents. The Board is thankful for his service. We are appreciative of his hard work and dedication to the university and are grateful for his commitment to serving students. We wish him well in all his future endeavors.

Wichita State Provost Rick Muma will serve as acting president while the Board considers options for an interim president. We are thankful that Rick is willing to step into this role."

Wichita State University Student Government Association President Rija Khan addressed the student body via Facebook Live on Friday afternoon. She said she had spoken with Muma and was still in the process of trying to figure out the reason behind Golden’s resignation.

“We would like to thank Dr. Golden for his service to students and the hard work he has put in during his short time as president. The students have supported him throughout and appreciated everything he has done to make our voices heard. We hope whoever the successor to Jay Golden is will follow in his footsteps of putting students first,” Khan said.

Student Body President Rija Khan addresses the student body

Student Body President Rija Khan addresses the student body about the recent announcement regarding Dr. Jay Golden. At this moment, we do not have any additional news. For more information, please contact SGA Director of Public Relations, David Garcia at sga.pubrelations@wichita.edu.

Posted by Wichita State University Student Government Association on Friday, September 25, 2020

Golden’s resignation comes months after he received backlash for not featuring a virtual speech from Ivanka Trump during WSU Tech’s June 5 commencement.

On June 10, the Kansas Board of Regents met and issued the following statement at that time:

“During these unprecedented times, our universities have been forced to make quick decisions and act swiftly without the normal process of including all our stakeholders in decision making. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work to improve communications during times of crisis. We look forward to strengthening relationships with students, alumni and friends. It is vital that all stakeholders join us in this effort.”

The board said it was “committed to working with our universities and colleges to support and promote freedom of speech and diversity and inclusion.” A sentiment that Golden echoed, adding, “I look forward to continuing our efforts in advancing the mission and vision of Wichita State University for all of Shocker Nation.”

Copyright 2020 KWCH. All rights reserved.

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