The University of Colorado Board of Regents unanimously recommended Mark Kennedy to be the sole finalist for president. He is currently the president of the University of North Dakota and has worked in higher education, government and business.
"That will allow him to build on the considerable success CU has experienced in recent years and take the university to even greater heights," said Sue Sharkey, chair of the CU Board of Regents, in a statement announcing the presidential finalist. "My colleagues on the Board of Regents and I are excited to have the CU community meet and get to know him in the coming weeks."
But the decision has come under question since its announcement on Wednesday. Kennedy served as a Republican Minnesota congressman from 2001 to 2007. During that time, he voted "yes" to banning same-sex marriage and increasing restrictions on abortion and "no" on $84 million in grants for Black and Hispanic colleges.
After the announcement, CU Regent Lesley Smith tweeted concern and said, "My colleagues and I will be exploring this further."
Updating my post. We voted for Kennedy as finalist for CU President. There's a 14-d 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. Tnx all
— CU Regent Lesley Smith (@LesleyForCU) April 10, 2019
Some alumni, parents and students also voiced their concerns on social media.
Denver Chernin is a junior at CU Boulder, studying computer science engineering. Chernin said CU has always been his dream school and worries Kennedy will change the university for the worse.
"The ideals of CU is that you can be yourself and find yourself at this school," said Chernin in an email. "Mr. Kennedy threatens these ideals that make CU the amazing place it is. He doesn't represent the students or the ideas we hold. "
But Regent Heidi Ganahl continues to support Kennedy. She tweeted that the search process was thorough and rigorous and Kennedy has the mix to be a great president.
I finished the search process with high confidence that Mark can handle a fastball, and that Mark has the mix of intelligence, patience and commitment to diversity needed to be a great CU President.
— Heidi Ganahl (@heidiganahl) April 11, 2019
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.
Kennedy plans to visit all four CU campuses during the week of April 22.