Editorial: At CU, A victory for grown-ups | VailDaily.com
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Editorial: At CU, A victory for grown-ups

Scott N. Miller
Vail Daily Editorial Board

It took a 6-3 party-line vote, but the University of Colorado Board of Regents last week did the right thing by hiring Bruce Benson as president of the four-campus CU system.

As Colorado’s funding for higher education continues to lag behind national averages, Benson was hired primarily to find ways to bring money to the state’s biggest university.

But the mere announcement that Benson was the only candidate the nine-member board of regents would consider for CU’s top job prompted what can only be described as a frenzy from the university’s students and much of its faculty.

The on-campus factions railed against Benson’s job as a successful oil man and his temerity to question the severity of human-caused global warming. They fulminated over the prospect that a guy with only a bachelor’s degree could lead a major American university. Benson’s campus opponents seemed especially peeved that Benson is ” gasp! ” a Republican who has a history of getting down and dirty in partisan political battles.

During the meeting at which Benson was hired by CU’s regents, students and professors voiced these complaints and more.

The problem was that virtually everyone who actually knows and has worked with Benson, including a state supreme court justice, sung his praises to the board. Benson was also endorsed for the job in both of Denver’s big daily newspapers and the state’s top two Democrats, Gov. Bill Ritter and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper.

It would be too easy to take potshots at ivory-tower academics here. But there seems to have a been a rush to judge Benson by those on campus.

After the vote, Benson reportedly went into politician mode, telling opponents that it’s time to start fresh. We hope faculty and students allow him some time, because Benson will need all the support he can get if he’s going to build on the successful work retiring president Hank Brown did to get the state’s flagship university system back on firm ground, both financially and regarding its reputation.


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