If you go
What: University of Colorado boxing class event
When: 2 p.m. Dec. 9
Where: The Corner Boxing Club, 5500 Central Ave #115, Boulder
Cost: $15 for those 18 and up; $5 for those 12-17; free for those 11 and younger
A University of Colorado Boulder instructor is rolling with the punches after CU denied access to a campus venue where he could hold an event for his freshmen boxing class.
Instructor Murray Cox claims CU told him boxing did not align with the values of the university.
The university counters that its denial was strictly because of logistics.
"No one was in objection of the class watching a boxing match," said campus spokesman Ryan Huff.
Cox teaches a new course for 18 freshmen on the ins and outs of amateur boxing.
"They didn't sign up to box, necessarily," he said. "These are people that have interests in the business of boxing, being a promoter, a doctor, a referee, a coach. I told them they each have to become an expert in an area of boxing and come together as a class at the end of the semester to organize an event for Colorado athletes."
About a month ago, Cox said he began trying to secure space on campus for a local boxing gym, The Corner Boxing Club, heavily involved with his class to set up its equipment for the students' event.
In initial talks, he said the recreation center seemed on board with hosting the event, but when the instructor elevated the request to the Student Affairs office on campus, he claims he was dealt a low blow.
"They said CU made a business decision to deny access to available venues on campus because the values of a contact sport do not match the values of a university," Cox said.
"My response was, 'Contact sports?' We have football and lots of sports that fall under that, but they bring in money."
Huff could not confirm or deny what was said between Cox and the Student Affairs department. The employee Cox spoke with — Kambiz Khalili, former associate vice chancellor for auxiliary services and student support — has since left CU for unrelated reasons and taken a position with another university.
"All I know is it was a time and cost issue," Huff said. "And that was communicated to him."
He said Cox's request was at the last minute and would have cost thousands of dollars to carry out. While the recreation center considered it, Huff said it made more sense to have the event off campus at the boxing gym.
Cox, who said the university never explained financial reasons for denying the request to him, argued The Corner Boxing Club would be supplying the equipment and setup for free and didn't understand what associated costs CU would incur.
"The costs are staff time, the equipment setup time, the room rental, scheduling the space and all those sorts of things," Huff said.
The event will go forward at The Corner Boxing Club at 2 p.m. on Dec. 9.
"I'm so disappointed that they said to take this off campus," Cox said. "I don't think CU or anyone here is bad. I think they just had a misconception of what is taking place. When they think of boxing, they think of violence. That's not what amateur boxing is at all. Amateur boxing is what the Olympians do — not the professional boxing stuff you see going for 12 rounds.
"The students are learning about success and time management and helping each other. What a missed opportunity to say we value what these students are interested in. What a missed opportunity for diversity and inclusion. Now, they're denying the value conversation ever happened. It's just confusing."
Elizabeth Hernandez: 303-473-1106, email@example.com