The most hated man on campus and I have shared short-ribs by candlelight.
When I met Ken Hush for the first time, he was seated alone at a pleather booth in the dim Union Street Social dining room. I introduced myself as an Emporia State student and he indicated that I take a seat across from him. He was unperturbed by my total interruption of his dinner.
After I referred to him as President Hush for a third time, he asked if I wouldn’t mind calling him Ken. Ken asked if he could order anything for me. When I declined, he insisted that I at least take some water and he left the table we were sharing to go in search of a glass for me.
We talked about organizational structure and change management. “Do you think older people,” Ken asked as he gestured at himself, “can change?” His meal arrived and he portioned some of it onto a small plate for me.
We talked about tenure. We talked about budgeting. We also talked about Ken’s daughters and about a group of ESU students whom he’d recently met and said he admired.
“What do you think my team and I could be doing better?” Ken asked me in earnest. Every few moments, he paused to wave at familiar faces as they entered the restaurant and to introduce me to his colleagues.
I could’ve talked to Ken all night but I eventually left him alone. My check never came. He paid for my dinner silently and humbly and continued about his night.
The classical good-man-versus-bad-man tale is one as old as storytelling. In our attempts to make sense of this world, we are remarkably quick to label people and situations as entirely good or entirely bad. I urge the Bulletin staff to create a space where nuanced discussions may unfold: a space that exists within that Twilight Zone where no one is totally flawed nor totally flawless. I encourage all to take time to meet the man who bought my dinner.
Glad you enjoyed your meal. Thanks to his coup with KBOR dozens of families have to think about how they're going to get theirs come August.
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