The Colorado Supreme Court on Tuesday denied a petition by the Daily Camera to hear its lawsuit against the University of Colorado on whether candidates interviewed during the 2019 search for system president were finalists whose names are required to be made public.
Since 2019, the Camera has sought to find out the names of the people interviewed by the Board of Regents during the search to replace retiring CU system President Bruce Benson. That search ultimately led to the board naming Mark Kennedy as a sole finalist, who was hired in May 2019 on a split, party-line vote and who left the position in June with a $1.3 million separation agreement.
Throughout the case, attorneys for the Camera have argued that Colorado’s Open Meetings Law requires the Board of Regents to name multiple finalists, while CU has argued that it does not. Five of the six names of people interviewed are now public, one being Kennedy and four being published when someone leaked the information to the Colorado Independent.
A district court judge ruled in the Camera’s favor in March 2020, and the Colorado Court of Appeals overturned that ruling in March 2021.
The Colorado legislature this year also changed the state’s Open Meetings Law so that public entities like CU are only required to name one finalist in chief executive searches.
In a statement, CU system spokesperson Mike Sandler said the university is “pleased the Colorado Supreme Court has affirmed our interpretation of the law.”
Al Manzi, Camera publisher and president of parent company Prairie Mountain Media, said the Camera was very disappointed by the court’s refusal to hear the case.
“We hope our efforts to try to get the courts to order governing bodies to release the names of more than one finalist will eventually bear fruit,” he said. “Transparency in the process will prevent the confusion and the controversy from happening again. We hope our challenge to the process brings about a permanent change.”