DENVER -- The University of Colorado Board of Regents later this month will decide whether to expand the school's nondiscrimination policy to include political affiliation -- a proposal born out of some regents' concern that there's a pervasive liberal bias, especially on the Boulder campus.
A subcommittee of regents on the laws and policies committee on Tuesday gave approval to the resolution that will go before the full board at its meeting Sept. 16-17 in Boulder.
Faculty and staff governance leaders attended the meeting to give feedback on a slew of potential changes to the schools' laws and policies -- which also include a forthcoming policy on misconduct reporting in light of the Penn State child abuse sex scandal and a change in the way CU elects board leaders.
The subcommittee of regents decided to also add gender expression and gender identity to the school's nondiscrimination policy. Now, regent law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and the Colorado's Division of Civil Rights includes gender identity and gender expression as protected forms covered by sexual orientation, said the school's chief legal counsel Patrick O'Rourke. The addition is intended to add clarity and consistency.
In June, the board approved a resolution requiring an independent climate survey to determine whether the school respects political diversity, an estimated $100,000 undertaking.
At the request of Regent Stephen Ludwig, D-Denver, the board will also consider a resolution that would essentially require fiscal footnotes to be attached to future resolutions if they will require spending $25,000 or more to implement.
While discussing the forthcoming resolution, Regent Jim Geddes, R-Sedalia, criticized spending on projects coming out of the president's office, including the $780,000 rebranding effort from a couple years ago. In the past year, CU has paid a consulting firm $380,000 to review the CU Foundation -- which also piqued Geddes' concern because, he said, the board approves the school's budget, but has little say over big-ticket spending items. His concerns will likely be forwarded to the regent's budget and finance subcommittee.
The regents will also consider changes to the way the board elects its chair, following a secret ballot debacle earlier this summer. The Republican-controlled board elected Regent Michael Carrigan, D-Denver, to a second year as chairman during a special meeting. The deadlocked board failed to elect a chair at its original meeting after 14 rounds of voting.
An early proposal suggests a board chair serve for two years instead of one, but cannot serve consecutive terms. It also suggests that the vice chair be of the opposite party of the chair.
But, some regents Tuesday -- including Democrat Irene Griego and Republican Jim Geddes -- questioned the two-year term for future board leaders.
"Regents all have their own strengths and talents," Geddes said. "If a chair is in over their head or doesn't have the time or expertise to lead the board -- I'd rather it's a one year mistake not a two year mistake."
Geddes also suggested the chair election be done in private with the board's secretary "to take the drama out of the chair vote." O'Rourke is looking into the legality of the idea.
Contact Camera Staff Writer Brittany Anas at 303-473-1132 or email@example.com.