Former UND President Mark Kennedy was censured Thursday, April 29, in what apparently was a first-of-its-kind vote by faculty at the University of Colorado-Boulder.
The censure vote was a result of Kennedy’s “failure of leadership with respect to diversity, equity and inclusion,” according to a written motion from the campus’ Faculty Assembly, which is made up of faculty members from across campus.
The Denver Post reported that 35 members voted in favor of the motion, while 20 opposed it and one member abstained. The Post said the vote, which does not have an immediate consequence for Kennedy, was the first of its kind for the campus.
The motion claimed Kennedy has “a well-documented history of making problematic and hurtful statements without apologies or consequences.”
The motion also claimed that Kennedy’s response to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol was a “partisan message that referenced ‘identity politics’ and ‘fake news.’”
In a statement, Kennedy said “advancing diversity, equity and inclusion is among the top priorities for the Board of Regents, me, the campus chancellors and the university community.”
“I welcome both constructive criticism and active engagement to help move that priority forward,” he said. “I believe we are making progress and I am committed to our ongoing work.”
The censure vote comes nearly two years after Kennedy was named president of the University of Colorado. Kennedy was appointed to the position, after a tumultuous three years at UND, by a 5-4 party-line vote by the University of Colorado Board of Regents in May 2019.
During the selection process, Kennedy faced criticism and backlash in Colorado from students, faculty and community members who believed he was not fit for the president’s position, which oversees the University of Colorado’s four-campus system.
Regents are elected officials with a party affiliation in Colorado. While Kennedy, a former Republican member of Congress, was appointed to the role by the Republican-majority board in 2019, he will be facing a Democratic-majority board when he has his annual review in June. He will be entering the final year of his three-year contract this summer.