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.
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.