“I don’t mind saying that it was a disaster for the Center, for the University.”
— CU Professor Robert Pasnau, a former director of the “conservative scholar” program that hired John Eastman.
Late last month, we learned that John Eastman — a former visiting conservative scholar at the University of Colorado and one of former President Trump’s main advisors on an attempted coup in 2021 — probably (inadvertently) put himself and Trump in even more trouble recently. Eastman was trying to find a legal way to hide certain documents from public view, but that effort failed spectacularly when a federal judge ruled that Trump “more likely than not” attempted to illegally obstruct Congress as part of a criminal conspiracy when he tried to subvert the 2020 election on Jan. 6, 2021.
U.S. District Judge David O. Carter memorably noted in his opinion that Eastman and Trump were trying to hatch what amounted to “a coup in search of a legal theory.” As we’ve written before, Eastman’s time at the University of Colorado leaves a lot of unanswered questions for Republican gubernatorial candidate
Hiedi Heidi Ganahl, who as a CU Regent played a role in bringing Eastman to the “Benson Center for the Study of Western Civilization” at CU Boulder. Eastman’s tenure at CU is apparently not viewed well by even the people who promoted the idea of a conservative scholar program.
On Wednesday, Colorado Public Radio aired an interview from Andrea Dukakis with Robert Pasnau, a philosophy professor at CU and a former director of the conservative scholars program. Pasnau did not mince words on Eastman:
DUKAKIS: In retrospect, how do you look at Eastman’s appointment and then what’s transpired since then?
PASNAU: “I don’t mind saying that it was a disaster for the Center, for the University. I said that we’d brought in a lot of good people. With Eastman…it turns out to have been a mistake. [Pols emphasis] Whether that could have been foreseen in advance, I won’t speculate on that.
Pasnau then half-jokingly notes that he was on leave from the University when Eastman was hired, saying “I’ve got an alibi on that,” before continuing with his blunt assessment:
PASNAU: But, it’s been very bad for the University and it’s specifically been bad for the Center. Before Eastman’s arrival there were a lot of people at the University who were kind of grudgingly willing to concede that the Center had its place, that it could play an important role. And a lot of those folk have pulled back. A lot of departments just refuse to have anything to do with the Center now. I hope that will fade in time, but it will take some time. [Pols emphasis]
You can listen to the segment yourself below:
Pasnau later acknowledges that the “conservative scholar” program at CU has been “diminished…with the whole Eastman affair.”
To our knowledge, this is the first time that someone associated with the “Benson Center” has been so blunt in talking about Eastman’s hiring at CU. Pasnau’s comments make it more difficult now for anyone associated with the program to even attempt to defend Eastman’s presence, as Ganahl once did:
“There are fantastic folks who come in [to the Benson Center]. Right now, it’s Dr. John Eastman, who’s riling some folks up.”
— Heidi Ganahl in December 2020
Eastman was stripped of his official duties at CU in January 2021, which included an admission from the University that his Spring 2021 classes had already been cancelled due to “low enrollment.”