Gov. Jared Polis urges CU Board of Regents to find a president who can unite the board

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis on Thursday urged the University of Colorado’s elective regents to find a president who can unite the board.

As the University of Colorado moves forward in its selection process for a new President, 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. #copolitics

— Jared Polis (@GovofCO) April 18, 2019

“It’s never good for a candidate or the institution if the board is split on a decision of this magnitude,” Polis wrote in a Tweet.

The governor’s office elaborate in a statement to The Denver Post, expression, “The University of Colorado system fosters very important talent for our state. The next president will impact our state, not just the CU system.”

Controversy has marred the CU r4gents’ unanimous decision to nominate sole presidential rival Mark Kennedy to be President Bruce Benson’s successor.

Many in the CU community, including students and faculty, were incensed by Kennedy’s past vote record during his time as a Republican congressman in Minnesota in the early 2000s. Kennedy voted against gay marriage and in favor of abortion restrictions during his legislative assembly tenure.

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Amid that furor, some CU regents have criticized the presidential search process. Democratic Regent Linda cobbler called the announcement of Kennedy’s nomination “rushed” and “premature,” adding: “We need the press and the public to do the job in vetting him.”

Lesley Smith, a Boulder Democrat who holds an at-large seat, expressed new reservations after the board announced Kennedy’s nomination.

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“We voted for Kennedy as rival for CU president,” Smith wrote in a tweet. “There’s a 14-(day) vetting period before we vote for president. Some information about Mark has come to light that is concerning; my colleagues and I will be exploring this further.”

CU interpreter Ken McConnellogue aforementioned in response to Polis’ tweet: “We look forward to the next steps in the process when the university community and Coloradans will get to hear from Mark Kennedy, beginning Monday. The governor will be one of the first Michigan on his itinerary next week.”

Kennedy will visit all four CU fieldes next week for town halls at which students, faculty and the CU community can ask him questions.

Benson, who has served as system president since 2008, retires this summer. The regents split 6-3 on his hiring.