A seemingly intractable lack of diversity blemishes the otherwise strong reputation of the University of Colorado's flagship campus in Boulder. Throwbacks looking for immersion into white, homogenous, coercionist groupthink need look no farther than the Boulder campus to find Nirvana.
This is nothing new and the faculty seem to like it.
To uphold white, privileged groupthink as an officially accepted worldview, the Boulder Faculty Assembly voted for more of it last week. They censured CU President Mark Kennedy, a man who has arguably done more than any other single person to diversity a campus that ranks among the country's least diverse in terms of ethnicity and philosophy. Incredibly, even laughably, the nearly all-white faculty censured Kennedy on the pretense they want more diversity. Their complaint charges Kennedy with “failure of leadership with respect to diversity, equity and inclusion.”
Do not fall for this ruse. If they want diversity, which clearly they do not, faculty would praise Kennedy for pursuing their purported goal.
Since taking office in 2019, Kennedy has promoted 14 women and five ethnic minorities to serve among his closest advisers; hired CU’s first chief diversity officer; convinced the CU Foundation to allocate $5 million for CU's Inclusion, Diversity and Excellence in Academics program; directed $2 million for CU Denver to attain Hispanic Serving Institution status; provided $1 million to match the Charles J. Blackwood Endowed Scholarship Fund for minority medical students; invested $400,000 to support a collaboration to encourage minority undergrads to pursue doctoral degrees in business; sought in-state tuition for out-of-state members of Indian tribes with historic ties to Colorado; supported naming two buildings in honor of Hispanic and Black leaders; supported establishing the Center for Health Equity at the CU Anschutz medical campus to promote better health for minorities; supported expanding the Multicultural Office for Student Access, Inclusiveness, and Community at the Colorado Springs campus, and much, much more.
Kennedy is so devoted to diversity he bragged to The Gazette's editorial board, the day he was chosen as the finalist for the job, about his participation in replacing the old “Fighting Sioux” nickname with the “Fighting Hawks" when he served as president of the University of North Dakota. Kennedy would not tolerate the trivial appropriation of tribal identity for athletic boosterism.
When Kennedy took the CU position, he inherited a Boulder campus that College Factual — which objectively crunches raw university demographic data — ranks 2,034th for “diversity” among 2,718 academic institutions. The campus ranks 175th for attracting students from across the country, but nearly all of them are white. In the 1990s, Ku Klux Klan National Director Thomas Robb celebrated the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday in Boulder, praising the university and community for maintaining a "white Christian homeland" with exclusionary enrollment, economic, and zoning policies. He was genuinely impressed.
Those sincerely interested in diversity immersion are better off attending the University of Colorado's Colorado Springs campus, which ranks 308th — a full 1,726 places ahead of the Boulder campus — in terms of racial and ethnic diversity. Wander off campus into Boulder and students enter a community that is more than 88% white and less than 1% Black. At CU's campuses in Colorado Springs, Denver, and Aurora, students encounter far greater ethnic and racial diversity on campus and off. Furthermore, they don't find faculty organizing to destroy the administrator who fights for diversity.
The diversity problems at CU-Boulder are not limited to concerns about the nearly all-white complexion of the faculty and student body. Even worse is the mind control imposed by the monolithic campus mindset.
Just as Boulder faculty admonished the diversity-minded president, former visiting Law Professor John Eastman began suing CU for "discriminating" against him for espousing views that do not fit the mold cast by Boulder's homogenous faculty.
Eastman, a nationally respected law professor, served as visiting conservative scholar at the Bruce D. Benson Center for the Study of Western Civilization until he expressed the wrong conservative views. The university canceled his classes, effectively firing him, after he spoke on Jan. 6 in Washington to support then-President Donald Trump's claims of election fraud.
A civil rights lawyer, former US Supreme Court clerk for the only Black justice, and director of congressional affairs for the United States Commission on Civil Rights, Eastman wants nearly $2 million in damages.
This brings us back to Kennedy. In addition to pursuing diversity with tangible actions, he symbolizes diversity. A Catholic devoted to social justice, Kennedy long ago served as a Republican member of Congress who worried the abortion industry disproportionately reduced reproduction among ethnic and racial minorities. Contemplate a pro-life Republican leading a university in which more than 90% of faculty members are self-identified liberal Democrats.
Diversity. The Boulder Faculty Assembly will tolerate no such thing and voted accordingly.