The CU Board of Regents published an opinion piece in The Denver Post on Sunday discussing their working relationships and the search that led to the hiring of President Mark Kennedy in May. The piece came in the wake of media reports and editorials after a list of some 30 candidates for the position was leaked anonymously to The Colorado Independent.
The Post opinion piece, signed by all nine regents, outlined how the regents worked productively and collaboratively through the search process. It also expressed their bipartisan support for Kennedy and his efforts to advance strategic planning, diversity and inclusion, outreach and online education, among others. The board noted that media is quick to focus on areas where they sometimes disagree, but don’t often cover areas where they agree. In the past two years, the board has unanimously supported paid parental leave, increased pay for graduate students who teach, enhanced access and support services for veteran students, and policies protecting academic freedom and freedom of expression, among other bipartisan initiatives.
The board also noted it had not conducted the presidential search in “secret,” as alleged in some opinion pieces The regents wrote that “both Colorado law and our policies require confidentiality for anyone who has not been named as a finalist, and we promised the candidates that we would honor those policies.” The regents observed that the disclosure of the candidates’ names not only violated the promise of confidentiality but placed some of the candidates’ current employment in jeopardy.
The piece also pointed out that the practice of a single finalist is the norm in executive searches, where competition for top talent is fierce and accomplished candidates often will not participate in searches where they are one of a slate of finalists. The past four CU presidential searches have taken the approach, as have recent searches at Colorado State University, the University of Northern Colorado, Metropolitan State University of Denver and others around the country.
The regents’ piece also noted that as part of the university’s ongoing policy review, it had scheduled a review of executive-level search processes and will consult with external advisor on how it can best conduct searches that will provide the high-level leadership CU needs to meet its mission.