Why CSU's New Chancellor Is Already Igniting Controversy

May 6 2009, 10:18 AM
Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce president Joe Blake was named the sole finalist for the Colorado State University system's chancellor position yesterday--a move that would bring name recognition to the two-school system but that also stoked a controversy over money and secrecy. CSU is planning to cut $33 million from its budget next year, causing critics to argue it's the wrong time to create the new second-in-command position, according to The Denver Post and The Chronicle of Higher Education. But Doug Jones, president of CSU's Board of Governors, says budget politics at the state Capitol this year highlight the need to have "someone standing up and waving a flag for CSU." Blake, 73, has led the chamber for a decade and is also vice chairman of the CSU board. He was named chancellor in a closed session of the CSU board even though state law bars boards from discussing their own members in so-called "executive" sessions, writes the Fort Collins Coloradoan, which is investigating the matter along with The Pueblo Chieftain. House Majority Leader Paul Weissmann and Senate Majority Leader Brandon Shaffer are peeved, demanding transparency in how public universities select leaders, according to The Colorado Independent. At CU-Boulder, meanwhile, Phil DiStefano has been named the University of Colorado-Boulder's chancellor, replacing G.P. "Bud" Peterson, who left the Boulder campus in April to become president of the Georgia Institute of Technology, the Denver Business Journal reports.