Seven Things Regents Should Look for in the Next University of Colorado President

Bruce Benson is stepping down as CU President in 2019.
Bruce Benson is stepping down as CU President in 2019.
The CU Regents want public input for their hiring search for the university’s next president, who will succeed Bruce Benson. Benson is stepping down after more than a decade at the helm of the state university system, which includes four campuses, nearly 70,000 students, 34,000 employees and a $4.5 billion budget.

“It’s important that we hear from the people of Colorado about what they would like to see in CU’s next president and what issues face the university and our state,” search committee co-chairs and regents Heidi Ganahl and Irene Griego said in a statement. “CU serves the entire state, and Coloradans have a big stake in who its next leader will be.”

While anyone can submit comments, requests and general input electronically, Westword wanted to prime the pump (see: oil metaphor!) for public commentary by putting our heads together and coming up with a few suggestions for the incoming university — and statewide — leader.

1. Define “Academic Diversity” Differently
Bruce Benson told the Denver Post earlier this year that one of the things he’s most proud of in his work for CU is “his push to increase academic diversity.” Sounded great until Benson continued, specifying that what he was talking about was bringing “conservative voices to the left-leaning Boulder campus.” It was important enough to Benson's agenda that he committed $1 million of university funds to bringing conservative voices to CU back in 2012. While a wide spectrum of political viewpoints might make for a healthy conversation at the university level, it’s not the sort of diversity that’s arguably most needed at the collegiate — or city or state — level. Besides, conservative victimhood is so 2016.

2. Work on Being Press-Friendly
Let's face it, serving as university president is as much about being the face of the CU system as it is about being the "buck stops here" guy. Mainly because the buck usually doesn't get that high — the system is designed to mostly prevent it, except in the most extreme of cases.  So CU needs someone like Stan Lee was for Marvel — an ambassador to the world who has the charm to pull it off.