The University of Colorado Board of Regents named Mark Kennedy the sole finalist for the position of CU president. Your take?

And so it begins. Red herrings are becoming as prolific in Boulder as the city’s official flower, dandelions. After CU’s Board of Regents had voted unanimously in favor of Mark Kennedy as the sole finalist to become the next CU president, Gov. Jared Polis tweeted out, “it’s very important that they find a candidate that unites the board. It’s never good for a candidate or the institution if the board is split on a decision of this magnitude.” To which Regent Heidi Ganahl replied, “The CU Regents voted 9-0 to bring Mark forward as a finalist. Governor, that’s unified.”

But we all understand the point of what Polis and the students and faculty at CU are doing. Kennedy is not one of them. And evidently having one more Republican on campus, much less in a position of leadership, is not acceptable.

Here’s just one example of the irrelevant arguments being put forth about Kennedy. You’ve probably heard that Kennedy is anti-LBGTQ, based in large part on his vote 13 years ago in favor of the Federal Marriage Amendment. But, as it was aptly put by Rob Port, “Would those in the University of Colorado community demur at the idea of Barack Obama being their new campus president because of his past position (from eleven years ago) on gay marriage? I suspect not.”

Nothing against Kennedy. I’m sure he will make a fine CU president once Polis, et.al., peel off a Democratic regent or two to vote against him. But wouldn’t it have been great if the search committee could have persuaded Gordon Gee, the greatest CU president ever, to consider one more go around in our funhouse? Gee might be the only one who could convince the dour faculty and students that their time at CU is probably going to be the best time of their life. If they could only stop worrying about and trying to control everything.

Chuck Wibby, cxwibby1@gmail.com

Let’s talk about forgiveness and growth. I suspect that few people would enjoy being judged solely on the basis of the things they did, said or voted for half a lifetime ago. When I choose a leader, I want someone committed to continued personal growth, who can be honest about their past, take responsibility for their mistakes, and demonstrate that they will be better in the future. If we are unwilling as a society to acknowledge and reward personal progress, we will culturally disincentivize self-reflection and critical thinking — both in our leaders and our neighbors.

Many in the CU community protest that Mark Kennedy’s past views are out-of-step with the university’s values. The CU regents have been divided in their statements about Kennedy, a big-issue schism that Gov. Jared Polis pointed out Thursday as cause for concern. For his part, Kennedy says the world is different now, and he would no longer cast those votes. So: Should we forgive?

The thing is, forgiveness is not the same as trust. Though we should be willing to forgive past errors, in the case of powerful leaders we critically need to be able to trust that they will do better in the future. Yet, according to Kennedy, although he would not vote to block gay marriage now, it’s the times that changed rather than his own perspectives on the issue. When he requests to blow past questions about an important policy position because he is too rushed or unprepared, as he did Wednesday on Colorado Matters, it doesn’t reveal him to be a man committed to being present and accountable to a community — and that’s a failing perhaps more important than a congressional voting record.

Kennedy should be judged by his present more than his past. Unfortunately, this week hasn’t looked good.

Mara Abbott, abbottmarak@gmail.com

A quick review of Mark Kennedy’s record as a congressman and at University of North Dakota gives me great concern about the future of students’ civil liberties and academic freedom at CU under his regime. As a congressman, he opposed stem cell research, gay marriage and net neutrality, and he earned a whopping 7% rating from the ACLU, suggesting a strongly anti-civil rights stance. Even more damning, he earned a 17% rating from the NEA, which indicates a record of voting against the public education policies favored by educators. Why would anyone want an anti-public education politician at the helm of an institution of public education? CU Boulder’s Faculty Senate has expressed “grave concern about the quality and the qualifications” of this candidate. Maybe I’m being unreasonable, but on the topic of educational leadership I take the opinions of educators very seriously.

What concerns me the most, though, is the process of selecting and appointing the new president. The campus visits and requests for feedback from faculty, staff, students and community members seem like formalities, given that there is only one finalist and the Republican majority on the Board of Regents has given no indication that they would consider another finalist. Furthermore, Kennedy’s refusal to answer questions about affirmative action during a CPR interview indicates that he is unwilling to participate in the public vetting process in a meaningful way. As far as I can tell, the only public interaction he will have with the Boulder community before his inevitable coronation is a one hour-long “CU Presidential Finalist Forum” next Friday. That’s just not an adequate amount of time for thoughtful questions and answers. I’ve been to city council meetings that lasted six times longer than that, and those were about much less important topics than the future of higher education in Colorado.

Jane Hummer, janehummer@gmail.com

I agree with Mark Kennedy that affirmative action requires ample time to discuss. I voted for Gary Johnson, after his “Aleppo” moment, so it would be hypocritical of me to suggest that Kennedy should not be the president of my alma mater because of his own “Aleppo” moment.

I ordinarily refrain from discussing my views on the subject of affirmative action without sufficient opportunity to develop the argument. I recklessly abandon that practice here to be argumentative and avoid hypocrisy. I believe that it’s time to address historical inequities differently, and I worked on a campaign to repeal affirmative action. I hold my beliefs not out of ignorance of historic and persistent cultural and institutional biases but rather because of the silent asterisk behind the name of successful people of color.

“Legacy” and “affirmative action” share the qualities that the input is unfair and outcome will be determined by the quality of the individual. The difference lies in both success and failure. Affirmative action may level the field, however the ceiling remains glass and the safety net full of holes.

I’m in no danger of becoming president of the University of Colorado, therefore my views on affirmative action, incomplete, uninformed or not, are my views, to which I’m allowed to hold privately as I often wisely choose to do. However, a person seeking to lead our state’s premier educational institution should have a complete opinion on affirmative action, and should certainly make the time to inform us of it, “late to a meeting” for “some other job” or not.

While a clear disagreement with me on this issue may be agreeable to some of Kennedy’s detractors, it is his inability or disinterest in the subject that makes me a detractor. Whatever Kennedy’s opinion is, the university community he seeks to lead deserves to know it.

Shawn Coleman, slcbdco@gmail.com

Editorial Advisory Board seeks member

The Editorial Advisory Board has an opening, and the Daily Camera is looking for a member of the community to join the board. EAB members typically contribute two pieces a month on various topics of interest to Camera readers. Candidates should demonstrate writing skills and an ability to express opinions on a broad range of community topics. For more information about the EAB and how to apply, write to Quentin Young, quentin@dailycamera.com.

The Camera’s editorial advisory board members are: Mara Abbott, Shawn Coleman, Jane Hummer, Fern O’Brien, Jeff Schulz, Andrew Spiegel and Chuck Wibby. (Ed Byrne and Steve Fisher are emeritus members.)



Source link

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here