CU regents charge Presidential Search Committee after adding members

University of Colorado President speaks during a Board of Regents meeting on Thursday September 11, 2014 at the University Memorial Center. (Gray Bender/CU Independent)

On Thursday, the University of Colorado Board of Regents formally began the search to replace President Bruce Benson, but not without first adding two more members to the Presidential Search Committee. The charge and changes to the committee were announced soon after the adjournment of the first of a two-day Board of Regents meeting at the Colorado Springs campus.

The much-requested additional student representative will be Sierra Brown, an undergraduate at the Colorado Springs campus. She is their student body president and is also chair of the Intercampus Student Forum, a governing body made up of student representatives from all four University of Colorado campuses.

Brown previously expressed frustration to CUI about the initial composition of the board, saying, “it feels as though our opinions as student leaders were disregarded.”

CUI reached out to her for comment on her placement to the board, but as of this publication, we have not received a response.

When the regents released their initial decision regarding the search committee’s members on Oct. 24, many students felt frustrated that they weren’t represented adequately. The single student representative seat was given to Alex Holmgren, a graduate student and the associate director of the Center for Western Civilization, Thought and Policy on the Boulder campus. She is also a member of Staff Council and had applied for the staff position, as individuals were allowed to nominate or self-nominate someone in multiple categories.

Just over a week later, on Nov. 1, the Legislative Council of CU Student Government unanimously passed “A Resolution to Oppose the Current Makeup of the Presidential Search Committee.” It requested the regents add additional members to the search committee, which is allowed under Regent Policy 3E.

Konrad Schreier, senator to the School of Law, said that though Holmgren would “add value” to the committee, her conflict of interest as a titled employee at the university indicated that the regents did not delegate the spot “in good faith.”

“I think they just viewed it as an easier option,” Schreier said.

Another member was delegated at the meeting as well. Margaret Bathgate will represent the University of Colorado Foundation, the philanthropic organization associated with the University of Colorado. She is finishing out a term as chair of the foundation’s Board of Directors. She graduated from CU Boulder in 1976.

CU Spokesperson Ken McConnellogue said that the regents decided to “make an adjustment” to the committee after hearing requests from both students and the CU Foundation for more representation. Now that the committee is formally charged, he said its makeup is unlikely to change further.

The official charge to the committee includes working with consulting firm Wheless Partners on a search that’s “national in scope” to recommend at least five candidates to the regents by April 2019. That way, a president can be appointed by July 1, 2019, when Benson is set to retire.

The president oversees a budget of more than $4.5 billion, over 60,000 students and 30,000 employees, making it one of the largest employers in the state. As the leader of the whole institution, the president’s only supervisor is the Board of Regents.

Contact CU Independent Editor-In-Chief Lucy Haggard at lucy.haggard@colorado.edu.

Lucy Haggard

Lucy Haggard is in her third year at CU Boulder, born and raised in Colorado. She is currently the Editor-In-Chief, helping the CUI cover campus and the local community in the most aesthetically and audibly pleasing ways possible. When not on assignment, she's probably dancing way too early in the morning.

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