As Chalkbeat Colorado’s Jason Gonzales reports–over the last three days we’ve been subjected to an outpouring of discontent from Republican members of the University of Colorado Board of Regents over the impending departure of CU President Mark Kennedy, appointed only two years ago by the former Republican majority of the board over the fierce objections of the University’s faculty and student body. Kennedy, a former GOP member of Congress with a “culture warrior” right-wing record repellent to the “Zoomer” generation attending school today, was appointed to continue his predecessor’s mission of making Colorado’s flagship public university a “safe space” for ideological conservatives. As we’ve documented in this space over the course of years, it hasn’t gone well.
And today, the Republican minority on the Board of Regents are the only CU stakeholders mourning Kennedy’s ouster:
After nearly two years bemoaning their president’s slow responses and missteps on critical issues, University of Colorado students — particularly those of color — are celebrating the early departure of Mark Kennedy. They see his exit as a chance to steer the system toward a more progressive track.
Faculty who censured Kennedy a month ago also expressed relief…
Kennedy’s ouster comes as the nation has demanded leaders take more forceful action on racial issues. Observers say university boards across the country are seeking more active leadership on social, political, and economic issues confronting their students and the nation.
Students believe that Kennedy, a Republican and former president of the University of North Dakota, did not take up that mantle.
Instead, his comments frequently riled up University of Colorado students and, some students say, made life on the system’s four campuses difficult because his words maintained a culture that devalued people of color and others not in the mainstream.
During the contentious battle over Kennedy’s appointment in 2019, his critics warned that his record made him fundamentally incapable of meeting the needs of a school already beset with internal dissent over its overtly partisan political direction under Bruce Benson. Kennedy proved his critics correct, but the larger problem of CU being remade from the top down into a politically conservative–or at least “tolerant” of “conservative thought”–university predates Mark Kennedy. It was Benson and the four decade-long GOP majority on the Board of Regents who were responsible for the creation of the Benson Center, whose purpose was to bring conservative professors to CU who successively managed to top each other outraging the student body–and in the case of the latest such appointee, John Eastman, helping incite violence with Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani in Washington, D.C. last January.
With the historic flip of the Board of Regents majority last November, big changes are taking shape. The political fallout from this sweeping change is set to fall hardest on the Republican Regents who imposed Kennedy on the university, and promoted the Benson Center even as it brought embarrassments like Eastman to campus. And there’s one Regent in particular, at-large Regent Heidi Ganahl, who is widely rumored to be considering a run for a higher statewide office next year. Last December, readers will recall, Ganahl celebrated John Eastman for “riling folks up”:
In December, Ganahl gushed over Eastman, despite his controversial statements.
“There are fantastic folks who come in [to the Benson Center],” said Ganahl in December. “Right now, it’s Dr. John Eastman, who’s riling some folks up.” [Pols emphasis] Ganahl said the center teaches students about “the beauty of western civilization and the history,” and the faculty have “different point of view than most of the faculty at CU.”
Then this week, Ganahl raged over the departure of Kennedy, claiming “Kennedy is being fired for the high crime of not being a Democrat or left-wing academic to a new board majority who many days forget they serve the students of CU.”
Well folks, it looks to us like the only one who will history will record “forgot the students” is Heidi Ganahl. For a Republican hoping to disrupt the steepening trend of Colorado electing Democrats in statewide elections, it’s hard to imagine a worse way to hobble yourself out of the proverbial gate. And at every step, from lavishing praise on fringe-right John Eastman to placing herself on the wrong side of an 8-1 vote on Kennedy’s exit package, Ganahl has done this damage to herself.
We’ll say it now for the record: Colorado Republican comeback hopes lay elsewhere.
Leave Colorado for less communism?
Ganahl's stealth technology, keeping her not that visible among the greater public, will become obsolete the second she announces for another statewide race, no matter which one it is. I'd stick to the private sector, or the political operative sector, if I were her.
Anyone know what will happen to the Board of Regents when Colorado moves from 7 Congressional districts to 8? The current board pulls one regent from each district, and two statewide.
Will one of the "statewide" shift to represent a district? Will the board increase by one position? Will there be districts which do not align with the US Rep districts?
The state constitution sets the number of regents at 9, with no automatic increase provision. C.R.S. § 23-20-102 governs how they’re elected. Absent an amendment to the statute, the people in the new district won’t be getting their own regent. If the legislature wants to keep the one-per-CD system going, they’ll need to do away with an at-large seat.
In the past, when we added a new cd, we just subtracted an at large seat. But I think existing at-larges serve out their terms.
That makes perfect sense. They can amend 23-20-102 to provide for one regent per CD and one at-large starting in 2022, which is the year one of the current at-large seats (Ganahl's) is up for election. That seat would instead go to be with Jesus.
Not sure I like the idea of just one at-large regent. I'd consider trying to amend the constitution to have 11 regents, and statutes so we have 3 at-large and one for each CD.
The number or Regents will not change. As in the past , one of the 2
at-large seats will go to the new district.
I find it interesting that so many want to ignore fairness and balance. Are you afraid that your positions and views will not stand up on their own so you strive to silence other's views?
Just curious. What is your point?
Allowing those who have discredited themselves to continue to pollute the discussion with any repetitious malarky is neither fair, nor balanced, either.
Any input that is not reality driven is not welcome in an intelligent discussion…and there is only one reality and no alternative facts. If you dispute that claim, my interest in discussion vanishes.
CU could show its commitment to academic freedom and diversity of thought by offering a tenured position to Professor Nikole Hannah-Jones, creator of the 1619 Project. Hannah-Jones would enlarge the academic space of CU:
She recently was denied tenure by UNC, after pressure from Trump loyalists and conservatives.
. . . What, stevebosley. . . That kind of “fairness and balance” wasn’t what you had in mind?
They’re certainly entitled to have their unvarnished distorted views, I just wish they were required to be honest about their academic offerings . . .
Like maybe: Right-wing Propaganda 101, History 216 – Burying Ugly Facts, Advanced White Supremacy Biology 322, Economics 414 – Laffer, Broken Clocks and Blind Pigs, American History — Advanced Studies in Mythology to Keep White People Happy and Guilt Free, and maybe a Rick Santirum Chair — America, we* birthed a nation from nothing — I mean, there was nothing here ???
(*We = Rick and Donald and Tucker and Mitch and Matt and Marjorie and Lauren)
I find it interesting that there’s folks who seem to believe that higher education should give equal weight to uninformed and willfully misinformed opinion versus fact. And that one side in these matters is consistently the most revisionist and fearful — of truth, facts, and science . . .
In a university which once boasted titans like my late friend Ed Rozek on its faculty to claim a right-wing coo-coo clock like Eastman as Balance is shameful, Steve.