Some say they chose Mark Kennedy with eyes wide open. Others say they were blindsided by his conservative congressional record.
But in the ensuing weeks, revelations about Kennedy’s recent performance at UND and his conservative voting record more than a decade ago in Congress have triggered an uproar from students, faculty, alumni and donors. Regents now disagree on what they knew about his background, what they should have been told, and whether it’s relevant. Some say they have been blindsided by revelations that O’Rourke’s report omitted, and others say they chose Kennedy with their eyes wide open. The partisan divide on the nine-member board has split even further, with a Republican regent castigating his Democratic counterparts for backpedaling and feigning ignorance.
Two academics in Virginia had tried to warn CU regents against their “secret selection” process. Now that their advice has gone unheeded, those professors – who study public university hiring practices – say regents “have lost the trust of the (CU) community and perhaps the community at large.” In the meantime, former Sen. Mark Udall is calling on regents to reopen the selection process, as are hundreds of alumni who are blasting them for their “mind-boggling” lack of transparency and threatening to withhold future donations.
As the board prepares to cast final votes on Kennedy Thursday, it appears, to the frustration of many, that Colorado’s flagship university, one that worked for decades boosting its reputation for research and scholarship, fell short on both while searching for a new president.