Leaked list shows CU regents passed over more experienced and prominent applicants for president

The Colorado Independent: The University of Colorado’s elected board of regents passed over applicants with more experience running universities and more distinguished careers when it hired former conservative Congressman Mark Kennedy as the system’s president last spring.

A list of 30 names leaked anonymously to The Colorado Independent and authenticated by the board’s lawyer shows Kennedy, then president of the University of North Dakota (UND), edged out the heads of far bigger schools such as Penn State, Rutgers and Texas A&M, as well as several prominent Coloradans, including former Gov. Bill Ritter and former Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne.

Kennedy’s unremarkable performance at UND — which has a student body one-fifth that of CU’s and a budget that’s one-eighth the size — and his far-right voting record in Congress made him a controversial lone finalist whose values, thousands of CU students, faculty members and alumni argued, were inconsistent with the university’s. The secrecy around his hiring by a Republican-controlled board that promised applicants confidentiality led to concern among critics that partisan politics, not just merit, determined the outcome.

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