DENVER — University of Colorado President Mark Kennedy announced earlier this month he would step down after a brief two years on the job culminating in turbulence from student and faculty protest of a president insufficiently leftist for their tastes.
“The Board of Regents and I have entered into discussions about an orderly transition of the presidency and the university in the near future,” Kennedy said in a May 10 statement. “The board has a new makeup this year, which has led to changes in its focus and philosophy.”
The compositional board changes put another target on an already marked man whose conservative credentials made his initial hiring an uphill battle when he narrowly captured the college presidency in 2019. At the time, students and faculty protested Kennedy’s inclusion at the university for his criticism of affirmative action and opposition to gay marriage, according to the Denver Post.
Last fall, Democrats flipped the nine-member board of regents governing the Colorado university system, putting it in their control for the first time in 41 years. That put Kennedy, a Republican whose resume included three terms representing Minnesota in the House of Representatives before three years as president of the University of North Dakota prior to his tenure in Colorado, on the chopping block under the new board.
This spring, leftist students and faculty looking for an opportunity to attach the racist label on their conservative college president found their remark to propel the expulsion. Never mind that Kennedy, according to the school’s Vice President of Communications Ken McConnellogue, hired the university system’s first chief diversity officer and established a $5 million fund for race-conscious initiatives. Among the initiatives were a program to offer in-state tuition for members of indigenous tribes home in Colorado.
Kennedy also “contributed $1 million in his own funds for a school of medicine scholarship for students in underrepresented communities,” McConnellogue told The Federalist.
In March, university faculty voted to censure Kennedy for “his failure of leadership with respect to diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
“The urgency of this issue requires leadership at the highest level of our University of Colorado system, leadership in actions and words,” the faculty wrote as they implemented a leftist purge of leadership. Several days later, the faculty turned inward and criticized its own lack of diversity in a pledge to prioritize an affirmative action program in faculty leadership.
In the seventh bullet of Kennedy’s censure, faculty wrote the president’s use of the term “Trail of Tears” harmed the university efforts of inclusion and diminished the “genocide of Indigenous Peoples.” Kennedy used had used the common phrase as a metaphor to describe the end result of fleeing in-class enrollment.
“On-campus is declining and online is growing,” Kennedy said in August. “If we don’t get online right… we have a trail of tears in front of us.”
Kennedy apologized for a “poor choice of words” shortly afte. The phrase invoked the tragedy of about 60,000 Native Americans marched to western reservations beginning under President Andrew Jackson.
Students at the Boulder campus censured Kennedy along the same lines in April, complaining Kennedy’s commitment to efforts of diversity and inclusion failed to meet the far-left standards which now demand adherence to structural diversity as a secular quasi-religion.
Kennedy’s initiatives weren’t enough, won’t ever will be enough, can’t ever be enough when the apparent oppressor possesses an “R” next to his name.
“I’m not sure if I would go as far as to say he’s being fired for insufficient wokeness,” McConnellogue said, but “what is clear is that there’s a new make up of the board and they want to go in a different direction.”
“I work with the guy every day,” McConnellogue continued, and after more than a decade at the school, “[Kennedy’s] doing a very good job as president.”