COLORADO SPRINGS -- A Republican University of Colorado regent suggested Wednesday that there be more political balance among faculty members, a proposal during a diversity discussion that didn't bode well with other board members.
Jim Geddes, R-Centennial, said that as a leading university, CU should hire more conservative professors to replace retiring and outgoing faculty members. Intellectual diversity is the "greatest challenge facing the university," Geddes said during the board's meeting in Colorado Springs.
"We are a public university serving Colorado," Geddes said. "Our students come to us, and it's no concern what their politics are, but it is a concern about those who are teaching our students."
The regents discussed a set of "guiding principles" that will be voted on Thursday and help establish CU's mission. In the area of diversity, Geddes' suggestion -- which emphasized political diversity among faculty -- was taken off the table.
The board became warmer to a proposal brought forward by Regent Kyle Hybl, a Republican from Colorado Springs.
The regents are poised to approve Hybl's version, which says CU should: "Promote faculty, student, and staff diversity to ensure the rich interchange of ideas in the pursuit of truth and learning, including diversity of political, geographic, cultural, intellectual and philosophical perspectives."
The more controversial version brought forward by Geddes said CU should promote diversity of protected classes and geographical and cultural spectrums. It also said CU should "promote and insure intellectual diversity of its faculty including differences of political and philosophical thought and affiliation reasonably consistent with Colorado and the nation."
Regent Joe Neguse, a Boulder Democrat, said he worried the proposed principle would lead to quotas in order to achieve political diversity. Geddes responded that he doesn't favor quotas.
Neguse said that 2 percent of students at CU-Boulder are African-American and 6 percent are Latino.
"We need to encourage and promote all kinds of diversity," he said.
Regent Michael Carrigan, a Denver Democrat, said professors' political beliefs are irrelevant in many disciplines, pointing to the engineering college or at CU's School of Medicine.
"This is not the greatest challenge facing the university ... it's taking a sledgehammer to a fly," Carrigan said.
Contact Camera Staff Writer Brittany Anas at 303-473-1132 or email@example.com.