Barbara Atkinson: What's the real story at KU's School of Medicine?
The Kansas City Star
One of the more absurd parts of Barbara Atkinson’s departure from the University of Kansas School of Medicine centers on this quotation in today’s Star:
“There is nothing unusual about this agreement,” per Tim Caboni, KU vice chancellor for public affairs.
Really? KU expects the public to believe that its dealings with Atkinson - the former executive vice chancellor and executive dean of the medical school - were “nothing unusual”?
The severance agreement of $419,253 - paid with private funds in an apparent attempt to reduce public scrutiny of what’s going on here - is “nothing unusual”?
The sudden decision by Atkinson to give up one of her roles, which she had said she would hang on to for another two years, is “nothing unusual”?
The leaving of KU’s top official at the School of Medicine in the middle of the federal government’s review of the school’s long-hoped-for-bid to become a designated cancer center is “nothing unusual”?
If you’re in Washington, and you see a sudden power shift at the school that might get millions of dollars in federal funding, you might just think that money could go elsewhere, to another school that isn’t suffering from a sudden leadership vacuum.
It would be great if KU officials - instead of appearing to hide what’s really going on with Atkinson - were more upfront about why she really left early.
It would be great if a public institution such as KU, led by Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, would be more upfront about what was really going on with a key medical school post.
Then again, that would be highly unusual.