CU Boulder Students Protest Against Presidential Finalist

Apr 15, 2019

About 100 students, faculty, staff and alumni gathered on the campus of the University of Colorado Boulder Monday to protest the sole finalist for the system's next president.

Mark Kennedy was unanimously recommended by the CU Board of Regents earlier this month.

CU Sophomore Victoria Acuña protested at the rally because of Kennedy's congressional voting record. He served as a republican Minnesota congressman from 2001 to 2007. During that time, among other controversial votes, he voted to ban same-sex marriage and increase restrictions on abortion.

"He has voted 'no' on granting $84 million in grants for black and Hispanic colleges and a few other environmental things. He's always supported mostly oil, and he's supported forest thinning projects," said Acuña "and that doesn't really represent CU, you know. CU is more of a sustainable campus."

In a recent opinion article in the Boulder Daily Camera, CU Regent Chair Sue Sharkey and Vice Chair Jack Kroll addressed concerns about the finalist for the presidency of the University of Colorado, Mark Kennedy. They said the search took nine months, was not rushed, and Kennedy has spoken at length about his support for the LGBTQ community and for diversity.

But second-year law student and class president Perdeep Singh Badhesha doesn't think the regents properly vetted Kennedy.

"I hope the regents look at their process and I hope they name a new finalist or they go back to the drawing board," said Badhesha. "To have this guy for three or four or five years is an absolute disgrace."

Badhesha says more rallies are planned in Boulder and Denver during the week of April 22 when Kennedy visits each of the four CU campuses.

Kennedy is currently the president of the University of North Dakota and has worked in higher education, government and business. Under Colorado law, a finalist must wait at least 14 days before being named president. The public can submit comments during this vetting period the public can submit comments.