University of Kansas Support Staff Senate
An Historical Perspective of the Senate
The Classified Senate became functional on January 1, 1980, in response to an employee petition the year before. The Senate, at that time, was primarily concerned with salaries and wanted to remain strictly independent of the University and the University supported that view. Since then, the Senate has evolved. After just a few short years the Senate began lobbying Topeka for better salaries and retirement benefits. The University administration began to recognize the Senate as an useful source for input of ideas from the Classified employees and started to solicit recommendations when filling positions on various committees.
After about five years the Senate began promoting an interest toward a permanent voice in Topeka on behalf of Classified employees. In 1986, the Senate sent out its first copies of the newsletter. In 1988, the Senate amended its code to permit inclusion of about 400 employees, primarily in the skilled craft trades. The Senate is now able to function as an effective communications channel for all Classified staff. In 1989, the Board of Regents invited Senate representatives to one of its meetings, demonstrating that it too recognized the value of the Senate as a spokesperson for Classified employees.
The University administration became supportive of the view that Classified workers are a part of the University community and welcomed the involvement of the Classified staff in University affairs. The Senate's scope now covers salaries, health and retirement benefits, child care, legislative activities, University benefits, communications, personnel affairs and cooperation with Classified staff organizations at other state universities.
In April 2005, Governor Kathleen Sebelius signed Senate Bill 74 to transfer Classified employees of the University of Kansas to University Support Staff employees. This momentous occasion was celebrated in the Kansas Union. The signed bill is now framed, matted, and hangs in the Governance's Office in 33 Strong Hall.
So on July 1, 2005, the transfer of Classified employees to University Support Staff became official with a telephone vote of the Kansas Board of Regents.
On September 16, 2005, the University Support Staff Senate and the Unclassified Senate co-hosted a local viewing of a National Constitution Day video-cast, "Free Speech in the Digital Age".