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Hank Brown to Take Helm at CU

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Former U.S. Sen. Hank Brown will be appointed Acting President of CU while the search continues for a permanent replacement:

Brown, 65, is president and chief executive of the Daniels Fund, a charitable foundation started by cable magnate Bill Daniels. A Republican, Brown served five terms in the U.S. House and one term in the U.S. Senate, leaving Congress in 1997. He was president of the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley from 1998 to 2002. Brown’s name was first floated as a possible interim president in March, but the idea appeared to be dead after state Sen. Peter Groff, D-Denver, raised questions about his “commitment to diversity and affirmative action.”

The Rocky’s coverage is here. Last month, there was a significant amount of political bickering over consideration of Brown. He withdrew his name. Independence Institute, a conserative/libertarian think tank, said the allegations about Brown’s lack of concern for diversity were unjustified.

Diversity may not be the only issue on which Brown faces questioning. Academic Freedom likely will come up as well. When conservative David Horwitz spoke in Colorado recently, he told this story about Hank Brown to his audience:

During the speech, Horowitz said he met this week with Sen. Hank Brown, who told him that when Brown was a student at the CU School of Law in the 1960s, he had organized a teach-in on the Vietnam War from the perspective of those who had actually been to Vietnam. According to Horowitz, Brown said he was initially threatened by the law dean with loss of funding for the student bar association, and then with loss of his own scholarship, if he did not cancel the teach-in. According to Horowitz, Brown was in a class taught by the dean, and while he had the highest scores in the class, he received the lowest grade. This example, Horowitz said, indicates “there needs to be protection for these [conservative] students.” Brown told S&GR Wednesday that the conversation with Horowitz “was a private one involving a personal experience of mine, and it is not something I want to comment on publicly.” He would not verify nor deny the accuracy of Horowitz’s story.

If Hank Brown is to assume the helm of our top university, he’ll need to answer these kind of questions. Will he support an academic bill of rights for conservatives? We have a right to know his position on this critical issue.

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