New Rule About Student Fees? · 15 May 2006

Filed under: Press Coverage

By Paula Pant--Colorado Daily--05/14/06

Regents last week grilled student government tri-executive Jeremy Jimenez about how to ensure that free speech and intellectual diversity are being protected at CU.

Regent Tom Lucero questioned why student-funded programs that bring speakers to campus, such as the Arts and Sciences Student Government (ASSG) and the Cultural Events Board (CEB), don't require that their funding be distributed to speakers and programs representing an even mix of ideologies.

Lucero noted that Metropolitan State College of Denver instated a rule requiring a "50/50" blend of speakers.

"I don't want to do what the Metro board did," said Lucero, added that he wanted to see student self-governance over bringing a mixed ideology to campus.

Boards like ASSG and CEB approve of funding requests from student groups which apply to bring a speaker to campus. Jimenez maintained that these boards could not pursue a goal of ideological balance because many applicant groups lack a clearly-defined ideology.

"We don't know the leanings of all of the groups," said Jimenez. "We have a barbeque club. I don't know which way they lean. We have a chess club."

He also argued that student groups active enough to propose speakers ought to be given fair consideration, regardless of what other speakers have been brought to CU by other groups.

"If a student group is active, then they should be able to come to CEB and get funding," said Jimenez. "The student groups proposes so it's hard to be 50/50."

He added that it would be unfair to allow "the College Republicans (to) get 10 speakersŠ and 10 other liberal groups get one speaker each."

Some Regents seemed to support Jimenez' answer.

"Let the market decide," said Regent Michael Carrigan. "If the students want to get together and support the groups (which apply for liberal speakers), let them do that."

Regent Gail Schwartz agreed, warning against "micromanaging."

But Lucero questioned "if the market worked" and said he wanted to ensure that the boards provided a "fair process."

College Republicans chairperson Ian VanBuskirk echoed that same sentiment to the Colorado Daily the following day.

"You're dealing with fairly liberal people when you go to the board, and it can be hard for them to have a desire to bring conservative speakers in," said VanBuskirk, noting that two out of the four "big"-name speakers brought to campus this past year, Dick Gephardt and Al Sharpton, were Democratic presidential nominees.

The other two, journalist Lisa Ling and hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina, were arguably non-partisan.

Yet VanBuskirk complimented CEB, saying they do a "pretty good job" with room for improvement. He expressed hesitation at implementing a rule similar to the "50/50" rule at Metro, noting the complexities of casting "judgmentŠ about where the speaker falls."

With the results of an investigative committee's examination into the academic integrity of embattled CU professor Ward Churchill due to be released tomorrow, the issue of free ideological speech and intellectual diversity seems to be at the forefront of many administrator's minds.

Churchill gained national notoriety for a controversial essay he wrote calling some of the Sept. 11, 2001 World Trade Center victims "technocrats of empire" and comparing their work to an architect of Nazi policy.

Shortly after the controversy broke out, conservative activist David Horowitz spoke on CU's campus about the alleged lack of intellectual diversity in the classroom.

Contact Paula Pant about this story at or (303) 443-9508.