CU’s “Conservative Affirmative Action” Program Has Got To Go

University of Colorado’s “Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy” John Eastman speaking in Washington D.C. January 6th, 2021.

As the Denver Post’s Elizabeth Hernandez reports, John Eastman, the University of Colorado’s “Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy” who helped incite the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol after playing a major role in Donald Trump’s failed post-election legal challenges, has been stripped of any official duties for the remainder of his paid appointment by the Bruce D. Benson Center for the Study of Western Civilization:

The University of Colorado Boulder has stripped John Eastman of his remaining public functions following the visiting conservative scholar’s involvement in former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of last November’s election.

CU officials already had canceled Eastman’s spring courses due to low enrollment, and confirmed Thursday that they’ve revoked his outreach and speaking duties as a representative of the Boulder campus’s Bruce D. Benson Center for the Study of Western Civilization.

“University officials determined Eastman’s continued pursuit of these duties would likely be disruptive and damage the interests of the campus and the Benson Center,” Andrew Sorensen, a CU Boulder spokesman, said in a statement.

Fired CU professor Ward Churchill.

Eastman’s direct role in the assault by Trump on the 2020 elections, culminating in a speech he gave to rioters immediately before the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol, is the latest and by far worst blow to the credibility of the University of Colorado’s “conservative affirmative action” campaign initiated under former CU President Bruce Benson–continued by the university’s GOP-majority Board of Regents and Benson’s controversial ex-GOP congressman successor Mark Kennedy. Before the election, Eastman was nationally condemned for suggesting Vice President Kamala Harris was ineligible to serve. The University distanced themselves from Eastman’s “birther” opinion piece but kept him on. The refusal to fully excise John Eastman from the university even now stands in telling contrast to the determination CU showed in terminating the employment a decade ago of Ward Churchill, a leftist professor who fell from grace under questionable scrutiny of his politics that nonetheless uncovered some legitimate scholarship issues.

The controversial appointment of Mark Kennedy to succeed Benson as CU’s President, followed by Eastman’s appointment to the Benson Center just in time to disgrace himself thoroughly during the 2020 elections, could represent a major inflection point after Democrats regained control of the CU Board of Regents last November for the first time in 40 years. While Colorado as a whole has shifted leftward politically in recent years, Republicans in control of CU led by Benson worked to make Colorado’s flagship university a “haven” for conservatives who felt persecuted by left-leaning American academia. The result was the Benson Center, the noticeably right-leaning Leeds School of Business, and the appointment of Kennedy over a wave of objections from students and faculty.

For Republican Heidi Ganahl in particular, for whom service on the Board of Regents has long been considered her springboard to higher office, Eastman’s faceplant right after the GOP lost control of the Board last November in part over Kennedy’s appointment is a catastrophic turn of events. Whatever Ganahl attempts next is tainted by what happened to CU on her watch. As for the the Benson Center itself, it’s privately funded–but if the new Board of Regents concludes that the Benson Center’s purpose is inimical to the University’s larger obligation to the truth, it has no more place on campus than a fraternity caught hazing their pledges.

It’s time Colorado’s flagship university to be the change the voters voted to see.

14 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. kickshot says:

    CU’s Affiirmatve Action Program for Conservatives has now become a Welfare Program for Conservatives, paying them NOT to work.

    What’s Sedition Caucus going to say?

    On Jan 6 was Eastman wisely positioned UPWIND of Ghouliani or was he there for the smell of winning?

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      I think it’s really pretty damn funny all those Benson-Rand invisible-fist lovin’ wingnutters, . . . er, I mean “conservatives” (my bad CHB) . . . who would continue to endow waste their money on “free-market” indoctrination and patriot-insurrection classes that no one enrolls for???

      . . . but, yeah, Eastman’s an enormously huge douche and now even an obvious public embarrassment for that Ganahl ilk.

      Adios, future CCU constitutional law professor moron!

      • NOV GOP meltdown says:

        I think the marketplace of ideas has fully extended its middle finger to John Eastman for the last time necessary.  CU students are taking a pass. Conservative Thought 101 ?  How mind numbingly drab is that shit when there's offerings at American Universities like Invented Languages, Klingon and Beyond, The Vampire in Literature and Cinema, The Phallus, The Simpsons and Philosophy ?

        The History of Electronic Dance Music ?  I'm in.

  2. kickshot says:

    The refusal to fully excise John Eastman from the university even now stands in telling contrast to the determination CU showed in terminating the employment a decade ago of Ward Churchill


    Just another example of how extremely well conservatives use their outrage messaging machinery and how high administrative types will jump when they hear liability or discrimination in the air with the threats of diminishing donations.

    Let’s replace Mark Kennedy with Amy Kloubachar or maybe Liz Warren could come up with a whole new mission for the biz school and gather funding too.

  3. 2Jung2Die says:

    Or, we could at least resurrect the Fairness Doctrine and force institutions like Colorado Christian or Colorado Mesa to host visiting scholar programs in Democratic Socialist thought.

    • JohnInDenver says:

      Colorado Christian is probably off the table no matter what.  But Colorado Mesa is a possibility: 

      Now just find someone to honor by naming it after them, some donors willing to put up the cash for an endowment sufficient to run a visiting scholar program.  When you have the money, the University Golden Rule will kick in — those with the gold get to rule.  

      I'd bet Governor Polis' appointments to The Colorado Commission on Higher Education ["the policy and coordinating board for the state's higher education system including Colorado Mesa University"] and the CMU Board of Trustees would be willing to set up the program.

      • Duke Cox says:

        I might take that bet, John. Have you had dealings with Mesa College lately? There is no shared decision making process. The curriculum does not support the institutions' posturing. Adjunct professors are everywhere you look and liberal troublemakers are not welcome.

        Maybe things have recently changed at Tims' Conservative Cottage…(you can rent a room!)…but I don't think so.

    • kickshot says:

      How long would it take the program to attain zero enrollment at these bastions of conservative indoctrination?

      • 2Jung2Die says:

        Remember, it's not about enrollment, it's about "diversity of thought."

        • High Valley Lurker says:

          But of course, that diversity of thought gets attacked whenever anyone expresses an opinion of which Ronald Reagan would not approve. Its not like the right-wing have been vocal proponents of making sure that everyone has a right to free speech. They had “cancel culture” going a long time ago, as the mention of Ward Churchill reminds us.

          The right’s idea of free speech is that they are permitted to speak, but everyone else is gagged until the surgery to remove their vocal chords can be performed.

  4. Meiner49er says:

    The whole notion that universities aren't already bastions of conservatism (note small c) is itself preposterous. They're dinosaurs stuck in 20th century notions of privilege and institutional privilege.

    What Conservatives (note Capital C) are really calling for is chairs in reactionary politics. I'll be satisfied when Ganahl calls for the Martin Heidegger Chair in Conservative Thought, just so we get to truth in advertising.

  5. davebarnes says:

    "For Republican Heidi Ganahl in particular, for whom service on the Board of Regents has long been considered her springboard to higher office"

    Her name recognition has to be in the 5% range.
    Then, she has to deal with 33% of the electorate who will never vote for a G卐Per. 

    • kickshot says:

      In 2015, Ganahl was appointed by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper to the School Safety and Youth in Crisis Committee established by Colorado Senate Bill 15-214, to study school safety and threat prevention in public and private schools, programs and methods for identifying and monitoring students in crisis, standardized protocols for school personnel for assessing potential threats, and the implementation of the Claire Davis School Safety Act

      Ganahl was elected to the CU Board of Regents as an at-large member in 2016.

      In 2020 3 regents were elected to represent their CDs. The biggest votegetter received 9% of the votes on ballots returned, i.e. only 9% of voters voted the whole ballot.


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