First Debate for Future CU Regents
REGENTS DEBATE FOR ELECTION BALLOT IN 2016
Candidates vying for the first Congressional District seat on the CU Board of Regents met on the CU Denver campus Feb. 16 to debate issues raised by students.
Regent hopefuls Jack Kroll, Zach Rothmier, and Lucky Vidmar took the stage and answered questions delivered by moderator and outgoing Regent Michael Carrigan. The event drew the likes of CU Denver Chancellor Dorothy Horrell and former Colorado House Majority Leader Alice Madden. This forum has a significant impact on students and faculty, as Colorado is one of few states to select its university regents through public election. November’s election might turn over the CU Board of Regents’ party majority to Democrats for the first time since 1979.
Before the debate, the Sentry asked Carrigan about exiting the CU system to run for Denver District Attorney. “It’s been an honor to serve as Denver’s Regent for the last 11 years,” Carrigan said. “I’m proud of my advocacy for the downtown campus and look forward to doing more.” Carrigan went on to make advocacy the dominant theme of the evening.
“We’ve had a lot of us versus Boulder, or us versus Anschutz,” Vidmar said. “I want the board to think more about the entire CU system, and that goes for disadvantaged students who attend Denver, the Springs, or anywhere else. This unbelievable campus should be a model to all of our campuses in terms of diversity and global thinking.” Kroll added that he seeks to build more on-campus employment opportunities for international students to further encourage their enrollment.
Though the regents’ main responsibilities involve setting CU Denver’s budget, employee payroll, and tuition, they were asked a host of questions about partisan politics. The issue of concealed carry guns on campus was broached multiple times. “I saw firsthand the vote go down [in favor of concealed carry] despite my best efforts and the efforts of the student body,” Kroll said. “That was frustrating. If students don’t feel safe on campus, they’re not going to learn.”
Vidmar and Rothmier also asserted they would like to reverse the ruling that allowed students to arm themselves while on campus. Rothmier emphasized creating gun-free student housing and cited CU Boulder’s dormitories as a successful example of an opt-in system.
Student Body Senator Johnnie Nguyen, who is running for SGA Student Body President, shared similar feelings. “We have such an open campus—people are walking on and off it all the time,” Nguyen said. “It’s an issue of campus safety.”
He appreciated the direction the debate took in other regards. “It was very important that they talked about diversity on campus, especially concerning how unique [CU Denver] is,” Nguyen said. “When people say CU, they think of CU Boulder, so I’m grateful this forum was directed to us and what we have to offer.”
Students had the opportunity to caucus for their preferred candidate on March 1.
Above: Regents debated issues facing CU students on Feb. 16
photo courtesy connections.cu.edu