Steven Hayward
Steven Hayward
The University of Colorado's first-ever visiting conservative scholar, Steven Hayward, said his experience on the oft-perceived liberal Boulder campus over the last year was "overwhelmingly positive."

Hayward, who is finishing the first year of a three-year university pilot program to bring conservative scholars to Boulder, spoke to the Board of Regents on Tuesday about his one-year term.

The university has narrowed down the search for Hayward's successor to five candidates, many of whom visited the campus this month. Hayward moves on to become the Ronald Reagan distinguished visiting professor at Pepperdine University's School of Public Policy.

Though some regents have voiced concerns that conservative thinkers are not welcome on the Boulder campus, Hayward said he engaged in a number of cordial and productive conversations with left-leaning faculty members.

He added that the majority of the faculty members he interacted with taught all points of view, no matter their political affiliation.

"My perception is that the overwhelming majority of faculty in the humanities and the social sciences, while mostly liberal or often very liberal, conform to the highest models of teaching excellence and objectivity," he said.

Hayward said the conservative viewpoint seems to be underrepresented in Boulder because of omission or unawareness, not because faculty members are deliberately biased.


Though he was initially apprehensive about accepting a political or ideological appointment, Hayward said he changed his mind as the year went on. The professor taught four courses in political science and environmental studies over two semesters and held a number of community events, including debates and speakers.

Hayward came under fire earlier in the semester for comments he made during a radio interview and in an October blog post. Student leaders and faculty members spoke out about what they saw as discriminatory statements Hayward made about the LGBT community and about sexual harassment.

Many regents, recognizing that the first year of the pilot program was an experiment, thanked Hayward for taking on the role.

"I've been accused by one of the members of your search committee of being something of a screaming liberal or uber liberal," said Stephen Ludwig, a Democrat with an at-large seat. "We need great debate and thoughtful people, and that's who you are, and thank you so much for taking this on."

Regent Steve Bosley, R-Longmont, said attendance appeared to grow at each of Hayward's events and that the faculty may have been enlightened by interacting with him.

"Those who were afraid to have a conservative on campus found out that you're pretty OK; you're not to be feared," Bosley said.