KSU staff regent fired for criticizing board, faculty to discuss issues

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Chandee Felder, former Kentucky State University staff regent and administrative assistant, has been fired likely in connection to her criticism of the board of regents for how it handled the school’s financial problems.

According to an article by The State Journal, Felder received a call from Human Resources Director Candice Raglin notifying her of her termination effective immediately. The letter said Felder was fired because of an alleged violation of the school’s HR policy and ethics code along with “gross misconduct.”

Felder had brought the school’s financial issues before numerous regents and KSU staff before the information was public when M. Christopher Brown II resigned as president on July 20, according to her testimony and documents she provided The State Journal.

The State Journal reported that Raglin, Acting President Clara Stamps, Board Chair Elaine Farris and General Counsel Lisa Lang have yet to respond to a request for comment on Felder’s termination, and have not indicated who directed her firing.

Felder first started working at KSU 11 years ago. She was elected staff regent in 2019 and was encouraged to run for the position by Brown.

Felder began her career at KSU 11 years ago, and was elected staff regent by her peers in 2019. She said that Brown encouraged her to run for the regent position at the time.

During the KSU Faculty Senate’s meeting last Friday, the firing of Felder was a heavy topic.

According to another article by The State Journal, many members wanted to discuss Felder’s dismissal.

Faculty Senate President Phillip Clay and Lang both commented on reasons why Felder or related matters should not have been discussed.

Clay said that because The State Journal was present, the faculty senate could not talk about the issue without a KSU media team representative. He stated the directive came from the acting president’s office.

“It is not appropriate for us to speak in an open meeting about a potential personnel issue and possible litigation,” Lang said. “And I think at this point, that’s all that needs to be stated.”

Felder intends to sue KSU for wrongful termination according to her attorney Mike Augustus of Bolus Law Offices in Louisville. According to The State Journal, Bolus has represented numerous clients with lawsuits against KSU.

When a motion to adjourn was mentioned, a meeting regarding the issues had not been set and the request received no motion.

“Obviously, the fact that there’s no motion to adjourn tells you a lot,” said Peter Smith. “I think that if we let this stand without saying or doing anything, we’re complicit in it. We’re giving our tacit approval. So with the fact that nobody is saying ‘let’s adjourn the meeting now,’ I think we ought to discuss this.”

Faculty Senate Secretary Danny Collum made a motion to consider “a response to the dismissal of the staff regent Chandee Felder and revelations in the news media about the functions of the university over the last few days.”

From there, faculty senate members referenced how KSU treats “whistleblowers.” Helen Smith said there was a “gag order” on the faculty senate on talking about controversial issues with the media without a member of KSU’s media present.

“What I think is the more important issue at this point is the fact that the administration is trying to prevent faculty senate from discussing in front of external press what our issues are,” Smith said.

Lang disagreed with that statement, according to The State Journal.

Collum made a motion for a senate committee to “take up the issues raised around the dismissal of whistleblowers at KSU.” That was amended by Jens Hanneman to make it a full-faculty meeting to “discuss the issues” and he requested the presence of the administration and a media representative.

The members agreed to have a full-faculty virtual meeting Friday, Sept. 24 at 11 a.m. to discuss the issues that came from her firing.

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