McFeely: In fiery Facebook post, regent shows why Kennedy will likely get Colorado job

Chance Hill of Colorado Springs turns presidential appointment into classic left vs. right higher education argument

chance hill.jpg
Chance Hill of Colorado Springs, Colo., is a regent of the of the University of Colorado system representing the state's 5th Congressional District.

Remember those halcyon days when North Dakota Republicans and their media friends pretended to be mortified that dirty, low-down liberals would try to submarine Mark Kennedy's appointment as University of Colorado system president based on the inescapable fact that the current University of North Dakota leader is a conservative Republican?

Remember when I, bastion of knowledge, helpfully pointed out that politics are an open and encouraged part of Colorado higher education because citizens run for the CU system Board of Regents as Democrats or Republicans? It's all right there on the internet. Also, my cellular telephone is able to call people in Colorado, allowing me to ask them questions about the system. Crazy how that works.

Remember, too, when I tried to tell you all that Kennedy, despite noisy opposition and his pathetic tenure as UND's president, was still likely to get the job in Colorado because the current Board of Regents is made up of five Republicans and four Democrats? I admit, when Colorado's governor hinted that Kennedy might not be the best choice, it might've lessened The Honorable's chances . . . but I acknowledged five is still more than four.

(Listen to Mike McFeely talk with Colorado reporter Madeline St. Amour about the Mark Kennedy situation in the podcast below.)


I remember all these things because, well, I'm stubborn that way. And I'm still confident I'll be proven right. Regents will vote on whether to approve Kennedy as the CU system president Thursday, May 2. I predict a 5-4 vote (perhaps even 6-3) to confirm Kennedy.

My confidence is buoyed by a fiery Facebook post written by Republican regent Chance Hill of Colorado Springs. First brought to light by Boulder Daily Camera reporter Madeline St. Amour, Hill's post is a 1,400-word flame-throwing ideological manifesto.

It perfectly summarizes the war Republicans believe they're fighting in higher education.

Kennedy's scramble to become Colorado's president has turned into a full-fledged us vs. them, Republican vs. Democrat , conservative vs. liberal, we-have-to-save-this-country philosophical battle.


"Whether he is confirmed or not remains to be seen," Hill rages. "But I will not reward a small, well-orchestrated Far Leftist mob — who in my opinion represents a mentality as dangerous to this nation's future as any foreign threat we face."
Cue the Lee Greenwood, man.

Reports from Colorado indicate the opposition to Kennedy is anything but small and not particularly "Far Leftist." It is faculty, staff and students from each campus, whose concerns go beyond Kennedy's politics. But, to steal a line from a famous movie about college, Hill's on a roll.

"Obviously, the Leftist hypocrisy is staggering — and underscores all the more the need for leaders like Mark Kennedy who may not conform to the liberal mold regarding every nuance of every issue," Hill wrote, later adding that "as long as the Far Left engages in this bullying behavior, we must confront them."


It's obvious Hill, a first-year regent, has designs on running for higher office. It's just as obvious he now views Kennedy's appointment as an ideological victory as much as a pragmatic one. It might just be other Republican regents feel the same.

That'll be the delicious irony. In the end, Kennedy will get the job strictly because of his politics, the very thing North Dakota Republicans claimed they didn't want to enter the conversation.

Mark Kennedy, the sole finalist for president of the University of Colorado, gets a chilly reception at the University of Colorado in Boulder on April 26. RJ Sangosti / The Denver Post

Mark Kennedy, the sole finalist for president of the University of Colorado, gets a chilly reception at the University of Colorado in Boulder on April 26. RJ Sangosti / The Denver Post

Mike McFeely is a columnist for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. He began working for The Forum in the 1980s while he was a student studying journalism at Minnesota State University Moorhead. He's been with The Forum full time since 1990, minus a six-year hiatus when he hosted a local radio talk-show.
What To Read Next
Get Local