Dr. Venida S. Chenault
Published March 5, 2019
Editor’s Note: This article was first published by the Haskell Indian Nations University’s newspaper, “The Indian Leader.” Used with permission. All rights reserved.
LAWRENCE, Kan. — In a meeting of Haskell Indian Nations University employees Tuesday afternoon, Jackie Shamblin from the Bureau of Indian Education human resources department announced that Dr. Venida Chenault (Prairie Band Potawatomi) has accepted an upper-level management position within the Bureau of Indian Education and will no longer be president of Haskell Indian Nations University. Shamblin stressed that Dr. Chenault’s departure had nothing to do with the Office of the Inspector General’s investigation.
In November of 2018, the office of the president was temporarily handed over to longtime Haskell professor and administrator Dr. Daniel Wildcat as Dr. Chenault was placed on special assignment for the BIE. In January of 2019 Dr. Chenault’s leave was extended another 60 days.
Dr. Chenault’s tenure as president of Haskell Indian Nations University was announced in 2014 after she served as vice president of academic affairs since 2004. During her time as president she has increased student retention and built relationships between Haskell and other local, state, and federal organizations. She was president of Haskell during the controversial budget cuts to the athletic program which indefinitely suspended the Haskell’s football team.
Dr. Chenault served in multiple positions at Haskell for more than 25 years as both an instructor, advisor, and administrator. She has deep roots in the Lawrence community and attended both Haskell Indian Nations University and the University of Kansas where she received her bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate. In 2016 she was inducted into the University of Kansas Women’s Hall of Fame as one of a group of “awe-inspiring role models.”
With the resignation of Dr. Chenault, the future of the office of the president is currently unknown. It is the responsibility of the director of the BIE to appoint Haskell’s president.