Two must-read related stories from the Denver Post’s Elizabeth Hernandez today about politically incendiary developments at the University of Colorado, which despite the state’s general leftward trajectory is controlled by a Republican majority Board of Regents–who recently appointed a highly controversial ex-GOP Congressman President to succeed retiring Republican kingpin President Bruce Benson.
Under Benson’s term as President, CU took an unapologetic turn toward “conservative affirmative action”–with Benson regularly calling for “ideological diversity” on campus, and creating a “visiting scholar of conservative thought” position in faculty at his namesake Benson Center for the Study of Western Civilization. As our readers know, these “scholars” have not distinguished the institution–starting with Steven Hayward, whose gratuitous insensitivity toward LGBT students in particular outraged basically everyone on campus except Benson and the Republicans on the Board of Regents.
With that in mind, this update is not really very surprising:
The University of Colorado Boulder’s chancellor said Monday he will not rescind the appointment of John Eastman following national outcry over the visiting conservative scholar’s essay in Newsweek questioning whether Sen. Kamala Harris is eligible to serve as vice president because her parents were born outside the United States…
“Even if he did not intend it, Professor Eastman’s op-ed has marginalized members of our CU Boulder community and sown doubts in our commitment to anti-racism, diversity, equity and inclusion,” Chancellor Phil DiStefano wrote in an email to faculty Monday.
“Without minimizing those harms, and recognizing that we must repair that trust, I must speak to those who have asked whether I will rescind Professor Eastman’s appointment or silence him,” DiStefano wrote. “I will not, for doing so would falsely feed a narrative that our university suppresses speech it does not like and would undermine the principles of freedom of expression and academic freedom that make it possible for us to fulfill our mission.”
That’s right, folks–the 2020-2021 “Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy,” John Eastman, is the same John Eastman currently on the receiving end of national ridicule for his roundly-condemned Newsweek opinion piece, speculating that Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris may not be eligible to serve–on account of, you know, her parents’ foreign-ness. The Hill, in case you missed it:
Newsweek has apologized after an op-ed it published about Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), the presumptive Democratic vice presidential nominee, drew an avalanche of criticism that it perpetuated a racist conspiracy theory about her eligibility to be vice president.
The magazine added an editor’s note late Friday to a piece authored by Chapman University law professor John Eastman in which he suggested Harris, who was born in Oakland, was not a natural-born citizen because her parents were immigrants.
It’s pretty much exactly what we said about Steven Hayward–if the intent here is to outrage the CU student body, and in doing so reinforce their generally liberal predilections, great job! If the goal was to in any way make conservatives look good, we must report that John Eastman has failed his conservative benefactors mightily.
And that segues into the other story in the Denver Post today from Elizabeth Martinez about CU:
The University of Colorado has instructed communications staff on the school’s campuses to avoid partisan language and submit any statements dealing with “sensitive” topics — including COVID-19 science, race relations, climate change and the First Amendment — to the office of President Mark Kennedy prior to publication…
Regent Linda Shoemaker, D-Boulder, said she recently learned of the memo and felt it has a “chilling effect” over the campuses. She said she believes it could pressure CU’s campus leaders to censor themselves as to not offend the Republican majority on the Board of Regents.
While the “visiting conservative scholar” drags the reputation of the University of Colorado back to the stone age, communications staff at the university must now submit any communications on “sensitive” topics to the ex-GOP congressman President of the university for appropriate censorship. Makes perfect sense!
Republicans have held a majority on the CU Board of Regents for the last 40 years. In 2020, a pivotal battle for the CD-6 Regent seat being vacated by Republican John Carson could end that majority, and with it one of the last remaining vestiges of Republican power at the statewide level.
All told, a very strong case is being made for change–by Republicans themselves.