Collision Course

"If you are searching for the right place to go to college, look at the University of Colorado at Boulder," urges CU's website. "It's a place of beauty and academic prominence at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. A sense of vitality and curiosity fills the campus, and yet it's comfortable and relaxed. It's a place you can be yourself and let your imagination soar."

Not that your imagination need go far. Because as CU keeps proving over and over again, truth is much stranger than fiction.

CU officials worry that all the truths seeping out about their school will harm enrollment. Out-of-state applicants -- i.e., chumps willing to shell out more than $20,000 a year for tuition alone -- are already down dramatically, and those statistics predate Bill O'Reilly changing the name of his show to The Ward Churchill Factor. But in adversity, there's opportunity. If sex and cash worked such wonders for athletic recruiting, imagine what they could do for an academic lineup! All CU needs to do is market its scandalous strengths.

For starters, the College of Arts and Sciences could change its Environmental Studies major to Hostile Environmental Studies and offer this introductory course to the current mess:

Hostile Environmental Studies 101: Through extensive lab work in the athletic department, students get a hands-on learning experience in why the state grand jury charged with investigating CU recruiting practices determined that the university "has an obligation to educate, instruct, oversee and warn female athletic trainers of a known hostile environment that can potentially lead to situations involving sexual abuse and assault."

Students who major in Hostile Environmental Studies can later enjoy such courses as Kick Me 303 (offered in conjunction with Women's Studies), in which once-and-future CU football coach Gary Barnett diagrams not a football play, but this sentence: "Katie was a girl, and not only was she a girl, she was terrible."

Other Arts and Sciences departments would benefit from a similar updating of courses. Dance majors, for example, could take both Lap Dance 69, led by special, non-tenured instructor Nathan Maxcey, the former recruiting assistant who's the only person -- so far -- to be charged in connection with the grand-jury investigation (for soliciting a prostitute), and Evasive Dance 911, taught by CU Foundation president Michael Byram, who will demonstrate why the foundation's failure to produce requested documents for the grand jury should not result in a contempt charge.

More required Arts and Sciences classes:

Fine Arts 123: "Colorizing the Truth in Black and White." Students will flip when nationally infamous teacher Ward Churchill demonstrates how easy it is to create a masterpiece simply by reversing an already acclaimed artwork and coloring outside the lines.

English 1062: "Don't Cunt Her Out." CU president Elizabeth "Betsy" Hoffman tours students through the more ribald chapters of medieval English, with a special emphasis on Chaucer's terms of endearment.

Ethnic Studies 411: "I Dream of Genealogy" (prerequisite: Tenure Mercies). Ward Churchill's current wife, Natsu Saito, shows how teaching jobs are a family affair at CU.

The Leads School of Business could lead the way in leveraging CU's current situation into full enrollment, offering such coursework as:

Slush Fund 000: If Gary Barnett can do it, you can, too! CU's Teflon coach shows students how to use a Football Technique School to keep a "cashbox" -- or seventeen -- stuffed with unexplainable deposits that make assets very liquid.

Conflicts of Interest 009: CU Regent Cindy Carlisle, who's married to a lawyer now suing CU in federal court for alleged Title IX violations (see Hostile Environmental Studies), advises the other regents in how to recognize a potential conflict when it bites you in the ass. (After-class refreshments provided by Liquor Mart.)

Cell-Phone Etiquette 211 (offered in conjunction with Lap Dance 69): Learn from the voice of experience! Nathan Maxcey teaches you how to hook up -- and when to hang up.

And then there's the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, which could use that money it collected when the Globe made a deal to shut down the JonBenét Ramsey ransom-note investigation to beef up its curriculum with these:

Intro to Advertising: Two hundred CU faculty members reveal why it's important to make sure the full-page ad you buy in the hometown daily protesting your school's investigation of its most famous crackpot does not appear on the day when a leak of the still-sealed grand-jury report to Channel 9 shows just how cracked your entire school really is.

Advanced Open Records (prerequisite: Introduction to Paula Woodward): Guest instructor Peggy Lamm, who co-chaired last year's CU-regent-authorized investigation into the athletic recruiting scandal, offers a guided tour of the state's Sunshine and Open Records laws for students and CU officials required to audit the class as part of their work-release program.

Communications Crisis Management 80303: Sadly, CU cannot offer this course at the present time. As its actions over the last fourteen months make all too clear, there's no one on staff capable of teaching it.

"For each stage of life," CU's website promises, "there is a place that's right for you. CU Boulder -- the place to be."


Perk Up!

On Friday, February 18, a fifty-pound rock sailed through the window of the Perk & Pub in West Washington Park. The next Friday, the coffee shop got hit again, this time by a city inspector checking complaints that the place was not ADA-compliant.

"He was kind of belligerent," reports Perk co-owner Dave Blanchard. "Once he figured out we had done our homework, he chilled out a little." Blanchard and his partner, Kimmie Cominsky, had not only done their homework, they'd saved every bit of it. So Blanchard printed out the plans they'd made for a ramp up the single step into their six-seat spot at the corner of South Emerson and Ohio, as well as the estimates that such a ramp would not only cost $5,000, but would extend into the city right-of-way. Then he printed out the city's response citing a statute that exempts an older building -- like the century-old storefront that houses the Perk & Pub -- from complying with such requirements when it might put the business inside out of business.

"Of course," Blanchard points out, "in the beginning, we had all this paperwork from the city that said we could have a patio, too."

When he and Cominsky opened the Perk & Pub last April, they did so believing they could put a patio out on the sidewalk. And they did, creating a neighborhood gathering place that was packed on sunny days -- which meant just about every day -- until a few members of the West Washington Park Neighborhood Association complained, the city decided that it had permitted the patio in error, and the Denver City Council passed a measure proposed by Councilwoman Kathleen MacKenzie that made it officially illegal to have outdoor seating in many residential districts ("Brew!, October 26, 2004). The day before Thanksgiving, the Perk & Pub rolled up its sidewalks -- to the dismay of 1,100 neighbors who'd signed petitions supporting the patio.

After reading about the Perk's plight, Councilman Charlie Brown introduced a proposal that would roll back the measure passed last June. His proposal went before council's Blueprint Denver committee last Wednesday -- and then MacKenzie, whose district includes West Washington Park, postponed consideration for two weeks, until March 9.

So now Blanchard is wondering what's going to hit him this Friday. "This has divided friends, it's divided next-door neighbors," he says. "The only reason we're still hanging on is because of the overwhelming support of the close neighbors. We have people taking off from their jobs to go to city council meetings." Without the income from the patio, which more than doubled the shop's seating, he and Cominsky have had to lay off seven staffers and also put a proposed Highland Perk & Pub on hold. If Brown's proposal doesn't pass, they don't think they'll be able to hang on in West Wash Park, either. "If we do get the patio back and we can operate our coffee shop as we already had planned, then we guess it's time to build a ramp," Blanchard says. "But if we don't get the patio back, there's no reason to build the ramp, because we're going to have to close our doors."

They won't give up on their coffee shop concept entirely, though. They'll just take it to an area that has a neighborhood association that's a little more neighborly than the WWPNA.

MacKenzie insists the delay wasn't designed to grind Perk & Pub to a halt. "This change is mostly in reaction to one business," she says of Brown's proposal, "and the earlier change was mostly in reaction to one business. We need to step back and decide what would work citywide." Specifically, she wants to be sure that liquor and noise issues are addressed.

Noise? "The noise of rocks crashing through windows at night -- that's the big noise issue for me," says Brown. As for alcohol, although the Highland Perk & Pub would serve liquor -- and already had that neighborhood's blessing to do so -- Blanchard and Cominsky have gone on record that they would never go wet in West Wash Park. Besides, there's no space in which to do it, not unless they mix martinis in the washing machines of the scenic, peaceful laundromat right next door.

There goes the neighborhood.


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