Letter to the editor: 9/5/12

Calvin Carstensen

The September 5th lead headline on the front page of the DKS begs me to call into question a couple of decisions by KSU’s Board of Trustees. According to the article, the board decided “to hire an outside consultant organization specializing in employee assessment to provide an outside evaluation of the president …” Considering the handsome compensation package President Lefton receives, I’d say that doing so was a fine idea, so long as the approach was a sound one and if the findings of the consultant firm were given serious attention with regards to his performance expectations, as set by the board, and his compensation. The fee which was paid was $10,387. Reading the article further, it says that twenty-nine people were interviewed. Wow!! Only twenty-nine?? Then the article says that “of the twenty-nine, twenty-one worked closely with the president.” How much candidacy in response to any set of questions by a stranger could be expected from a group like that? Further on, the article says that of all the faculty hired by and students enrolled at the University, including its regional campuses, only four students and two faculty were interviewed by the contracted consulting firm. Really now, how (why) did the board ever agree to such a poor research arrangement?

Now, here’s where the DKS’s article blows my mind. It seems unclear as to what the board knew of the consulting firm’s findings during an executive (closed door) session that took place on June 6th. Still, the board awarded President Lefton “a $102,402 performance bonus” at its meeting later that same day. Wow! For what? … and the final kicker in the DKS article is that neither the board chair nor President Lefton is willing to be interviewed further on this matter by the DKS. I wonder what the rest of the university community thinks about this, especially the students and faculty?

—Calvin Carstensen, a major benefactor of KSU’s College of Technology