Five of nine University of Colorado regents had their spines intact Thursday, voting to confirm University of North Dakota President Mark Kennedy as CU’s next president during a meeting at the Anschutz Medical Campus. He will follow the extraordinary reign of retiring President Bruce Benson, who made CU great.
President-elect Kennedy, congratulations and welcome to Colorado.
All nine regents voted in early April to name Kennedy as their finalist, after an exhaustive national search by a diverse committee. It was unanimous because Kennedy represents the best option, and one difficult to find. He brings a proven record of raising graduation rates by helping people from all backgrounds earn college degrees. He gets results for students.
By law, regents must make the choice public for at least 14 days before confirmation.
In the progressive Colorado of 2019, it became an embarrassing public hissy fit by far-left activists who politicized the whole thing. They will not tolerate a white Republican male at the helm of CU. Opponents Thursday questioned whether minorities could even feel safe if regents confirmed the white man.
Activists could not stand that Kennedy, as a member of Congress more than a decade ago, voted against a barbaric form of partial-birth late-term abortion. That nauseating concern emerged as a central theme Thursday.
“The University of Colorado Medical School is one of the only schools in the country that still teaches abortion, that still has lectures on it,” said an audience member who stood to speak. “It’s a terrifying thought to have someone who has come out against abortion rights to be in charge of our medical school.”
Regent Lesley Smith also highlighted abortion, euphemistically.
“I know there is a perception there’s an orchestrated smear campaign by the left-leaning mob,” Smith said. “However, many of my data points come from reasonable people.”
The reasonable people, she said, are CU medical professionals. They tell her “family planning programming might be negatively impacted by Mr. Kennedy.”
Regent Linda Shoemaker advocated scrapping Kennedy for a nonpartisan alternative.
“CU deserves someone who is not a partisan... or at least someone who can work well with Colorado’s state government which is now 100 percent controlled by the Democratic Party.”
Then Shoemaker, ostensibly advocating a nonpartisan replacement, got more partisan.
“The truth of the matter is that the Republicans’ only lever of power right now is through the University of Colorado’s Board of Regents — which is pretty ironic.” Ironic, of course, because the left should control every aspect of higher education.
To summarize this circular logic: The board’s self-proclaimed champion of a nonpartisan CU president insists we need a Democrat to complete full partisan control of Colorado government and deny Republicans their “only lever of power.”
Republicans Chance Hill, John Carson, Glen Gallegos, Heidi Ganahl and Chair Sue Sharkey gave nonpartisan, positive, educational reasons for confirming Kennedy.
“I listened to the commitment he made to be an inclusive leader for faculty, students and staff,” Sharkey said in an enthusiastic announcement of her forthcoming vote.
“I listened carefully to his commitment to promote inquiry, research and scholarship of all kinds... In voting for Mark Kennedy’s appointment as the next president of the University of Colorado, I’m looking toward the future and expect him to build on Bruce Benson’s achievements.”
As Sharkey spoke, a student jumped from her seat.
“You should be ashamed,” the student said. “If you were going to listen to the voices of the university, you would have listened to the students.”
For good reason, the Colorado Constitution does not leave this decision to student activists and protesters with bullhorns. Ideologues and demagogues should not run CU. We tried that model in the ’90s. The result: booze riots, a world-famous pot party, death by liquor, athletic department date-rape scandals, faculty drug orgies and a plagiarizing professor who advocated terrorism, compared victims of 9/11 to Nazis, and stole the valor of American Indians.
Five regents deserve accolades for preserving a decision 100% of their colleagues wisely supported three weeks ago. The five chose to stand strong and lead. The others embarrassed themselves, taking orders from the smear campaign of “the left-wing mob.” Leadership... it matters.