Draft Travel Policy: Response to Concerns

Barbara A. Bichelmeyer Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor
Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, 9:23 a.m.
KU Lawrence Faculty and Staff

Sent on behalf of Barbara A. Bichelmeyer, Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor, Diane Goddard, Chief Financial Officer and Vice Provost for Finance, and Jason Hornberger, Senior Associate Vice Provost for Finance

Dear Staff and Faculty,

As you may be aware, a draft travel policy was recently out for its comment period.

Thank you to all who shared concerns and feedback. The policy review system is working; we’ve taken note of the thoughts shared and will work to address as many of them as possible. There is much we can agree on, including, we hope, a guiding principle: A public institution the size of KU – which receives and uses millions in state and federal dollars – needs both a travel policy and a travel system to guide our activities, protect our people, protect our integrity, and be accountable to stakeholders. We have a fiscal and ethical responsibility to do so.

We heard you, and we understand it is important to you that we slow our efforts toward this goal in order to address concerns raised. Further, it makes sense that we use the current depressed travel conditions as an opportunity to re-evaluate the implementation timeline, explore concerns, identify potential exemptions and implement those changes that are feasible.

While not an exhaustive list, some of the larger concerns we’ve received include:

  • Issues over the “workability” of the Concur Travel online booking tool
  • The need to make changes to arrangements on short notice, especially due to missed connections while traveling
  • Concerns over the intersection of arrangements for work travel, personal travel and companion travel
  • Up-front booking fees for large groups traveling together
  • Issues surrounding timing of program adoption.

We will appoint workgroups with faculty and staff to address concerns, identify exemptions, develop solutions to those concerns with greatest impact, and revise the draft policy accordingly.

As we work to refine our policy and explore potential flexibility of Concur Travel to better serve the faculty and staff and the institution, we will evaluate, develop, and communicate a timeline to roll out a travel program that best meets the needs of the university. 

We will offer programming to help people learn about the Concur Travel online booking tool, and Corporate Travel Planners’ services, with a fuller examination of how it protects users and safeguards the institution, as well as helps users develop an understanding of its capabilities and any agreed upon exemptions.

We appreciate the broad range of concerns presented individually and those relayed through other channels, and we take each comment seriously. This new effort will need to be undertaken with your participation. Though there is no system or policy that is perfect for a body as diverse or as complex as the University of Kansas, we can work to ensure it serves our constituents and our collective needs to the greatest extent possible.

Thank you.

Barb, Diane and Jason

Barbara A. Bichelmeyer
Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor

Diane Goddard
Chief Financial Officer and Vice Provost for Finance

Jason Hornberger
Senior Associate Vice Provost for Finance