John Andrews

Even if you don't pay taxes or tuition to the University of Colorado, my state's pride and joy, CU's academic rigor or lack of it should concern you. The notorious Prof. Ward Churchill made the place a national scandal, and the regents finally fired him. But will they take further steps to counter the dominance of multicultural leftists over this once-great institution? It's doubtful in light of this farcical moment at a board meeting last December:

“Is it Western hemisphere? Is it Western hemisphere north of the equator?” The inquiry sounded like a game-show contestant trying to buy a clue. Or like your boss going on offense to cover an embarrassment.

Unfortunately the questioner was CU Regent Paul Schauer. The mysterious “it” was Western civilization, recognizable to most people as 2500 years of unparalleled achievement from Greece and Rome to the present. But apparently not to Schauer, Mr. Education since entering the state legislature decades ago.

When asked to join four other Republican regents in establishing a university department to teach about our civilizational heritage, according to a story in the Colorado Daily on Dec. 6, “Schauer questioned what ‘Western civilization’ even means.” After his GOP colleague Pat Hayes opined similarly that “this resolution makes no sense,” the proposal died for lack of a fifth supporter on the 9-member board.

Paula Pant’s piece in the Daily not only documents this pair’s scorn for the plan. It also says the resolution was “co-authored” by Tom Lucero, Steve Bosley, Jerry Rutledge, and Pete Steinhauer. So Schauer and Hayes (now the board chairman) are the reason CU turned its back on the Western Civ idea. That’s dead certain, despite their recent indignant letter to the Denver Post blaming Lucero for poor preparation and scolding me for naming them in an earlier column.

Why not focus their skepticism on asking what ethnic studies “even means,” or on venturing that women’s and gender studies “make no sense” – to name two of the numerous flimsy subjects that do have departments at CU? Then we’d know which team they’re actually on: the Republicans, conservers of liberty and learning, or the Democrats, progressively junking the tried for the untried.

Do those teams matter? Absolutely. Chairman Hayes, in a friendly note before her letter to the editor appeared, assured me all regents’ devotion to what’s best for the university “crosses party and ideological lines.” Steve Bosley, who lost to her for chairman and now heads the presidential search to replace Hank Brown, wrote me the same. No doubt they mean it.

John Andrews

John Andrews is former president of the Colorado Senate and the author of "Responsibility Reborn: A Citizen's Guide to the Next American Century"