College Warned to Withdraw Bid for Culinary Program

WICHITA, Kan. — A Kansas college has pulled its culinary program out of a plan to take over an old fire station after receiving a cease-and-desist letter from Wichita State University and WSU Tech.

Butler Community College’s Hospitality and Culinary Arts program was one of two contenders to take over the fire station in Wichita, The Wichita Eagle reported.

But the college withdrew its name last week after receiving a letter signed by WSU General Counsel David Moses. The letter says state law and Kansas Board of Regents policy require approval by WSU and the Board of Regents for Butler to offer courses outside its service area.

“Any attempt by your institution to try and locate a Hospitality and Culinary Arts program to downtown Wichita is not approved by WSU,” the letter says. “Offering such a program in Sedgwick County is directly adverse to the efforts by WSU and WSU Tech as they explore hospitality programmatic options.”

WSU Tech President Sheree Utash said WSU and WSU Tech are interested in developing a comprehensive program that includes culinary arts, hospitality and restaurant management, and tourism.

According to Utash, WSU had been in talks for a year or more with Butler about the possibility of collaborating on such a project, but nothing had been settled.

Butler spokeswoman Kelley Snedden said the school withdrew from the fire station plan because it needs more time to work on collaboration with the institutions.

“WSU had not been directly involved in the discussions about the development of the Topeka Street firehouse proposal,” said Butler President Kimberly Krull. “However, we have had some meetings with WSU and WSU Tech regarding our curriculum and possible partnership for Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management. Butler is planning to continue those discussions.”

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