A history of Republican cronyism at Colorado Mesa University

CMU President Tim Foster

Colorado Mesa University (CMU) President Tim Foster has long used CMU to create high-paying jobs for Republican friends who either lost elections, were term-limited out of office or simply had no other place to go. His use of CMU for patronage appointments for exclusively Republican pals is so notorious that in 2007 Leslie Robinson, a writer for the Colorado Independent, dubbed the school “Mesa Republican College.”

The financial misuse of a taxpayer-funded institution by a person in position of power to benefit friends and acquaintances is called “cronyism” Its formal definition is “the appointment of friends and associates to positions of authority, without proper regard to their qualifications.” People often confuse cronyism with nepotism, which is when a powerful person appoints family members to positions of authority without regard to their qualifications.

What’s wrong with cronyism?

Cronyism mingles public with private interests, dismisses the value of truly skilled and knowledgeable people and discourages talented people who aren’t in the powerful person’s “club” from applying for jobs. It wastes taxpayer money on poorly skilled, unskilled or unqualified people, and it’s a tacit way a powerful person can signal that the people around him who belong to the wrong political persuasion are not only worthless, but powerless. It also allows a powerful person to assure all possible advantages accrue to the people he favors, specifically those who share his views and philosophy. Cronyism turns an institution, in this case CMU, into an oligarchy — a power structure in which all of the power rests with a small number of insiders who belong to the ruler’s “club.”

Is there a better way to run a university?

Of course.

The opposite of an oligarchy is a “meritocracy,” a system in which people are chosen to fill positions based solely on their competence, knowledge and ability to do the job. That hasn’t been the case here, but it could be a welcome change that CMU’s Board of Trustees could aspire to when choosing a new university president.

Crony hires at CMU

Foster became CMU President in March of 2004.

Below is a list of evident crony hires at CMU since Tim Foster became President of CMU. It may not be an exhaustive list, since some appointments could have occurred out of the view of press, media and staff. Note that many of the job titles include “acting” or “interim,” which is common when jobs are given under a spoils system. It goes without saying that each of the crony appointments that we know about were, of course, handed to Republicans.

Ron Teck

  • Former State Sen. Ron Teck resigned from the legislature in 2006 before the end of his last term to keep from having to comply with a new law that barred legislators from lobbying for two years after they left office.  After Teck stepped down from his Senate seat, he was given a job at Mesa State College as an “Interim Assistant Budget Officer.” (Mesa State College was the former name of CMU.)

Gayle Berry

Derek Wagner

  • CMU hired former State Senator Steve King to be “Coordinator of Campus Security and Training” from July 2012 to December of 2013. King left after he was arrested for embezzlement and fraud. King turned out to be triple-timing three different taxpayer-funded institutions: His time cards showed he worked up to 194 hours at CMU while also working as a State Senator and working part time at the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office. King was charged with falsifying time cards and embezzling from CMU and MCSO. King pled guilty to three felonies in January, 2015.

Former Colorado Rep. and GOP Mesa County Sheriff Candidate and CMU “Coordinator of Campus Security” Steve King pled guilty to charges of  embezzlement and fraud while employed at CMU. (Photo: Wikipedia)

  • Josh Penry was a former Colorado House Representative, State Senator and failed gubernatorial candidate when it was announced in the Daily Sentinel that he was a finalist for Director of Development at Mesa State in 2005, a job that paid $75,000-$80,000/year — about double his salary as a legislator, which was $30,000 plus a $12,000/year per diem. Letters to the Editor in the Daily Sentinel at the time condemned the consideration of Penry for the patronage job at Mesa State, and showed the local public’s resentment over the pattern of Republican cronies being handed patronage appointments at Mesa State. There is no evidence Penry took the job — perhaps the public pushback made a difference in this instance. Nevertheless, several of Penry’s family members went on to receive favorable treatment at Mesa State.

Daily Sentinel, 27 April, 2005, Letters to the editor roundly condemning Mesa State cronyismDaily Sentinel, 27 April, 2005, Letters to the editor roundly condemning Mesa State cronyism 27 Apr 2005, Wed The Daily Sentinel (Grand Junction, Colorado) Newspapers.com

09 Apr 2005, Sat The Daily Sentinel (Grand Junction, Colorado) Newspapers.com

Kristi Pollard, Josh Penry’s sister was hired to be “Acting Director of Development” and “Assistant to the Director of Development” at CMU

    • In 2009, Mesa State College hired Josh Penry’s sister Kristi Pollard as Acting Director of Development. Kristi Pollard is married to Tim Pollard, a Republican political operative who, with Penry, ran a Republican astroturf lobbying firm called EIS Solutions. (EIS Solutions was caught falsifying business owners’ signatures on a pro-fracking petition in Fort Collins in 2013). Incidentally, Curiously, Tim Pollard was recently found to be sitting in as a “guest” in a meeting of the committee charged with hiring a new president at CMU. The reason for his presence was not explained.
    • At the same time that Penry’s sister worked at CMU, CMU employed Penry’s wife, as  “Interim Director of Development” and also “Assistant to the Director of Development.” The Colorado Independent reported that Penry’s relatives were not hired in the usual competitive process for at least two of the three positions they held. According to the October 26, 2009 issue of the Independent, “…because Penry’s sister and wife were hired to assume ‘acting and ‘interim’ positions, they were likely appointed and did not have to compete with other applicants.”

Janet Rowland

  • In 2013, after she was term-limited out as Mesa County Commissioner, CMU made a job for Janet Rowland by creating an entirely new entity called the “Center for Local Government” and installing her as the head of it. The school initially used a $10,000 grant from the the “Unconventional Energy Center” to create the job according to the Mesa State College paper, The Criterion. The “Center for Local Government” no longer exists. It has no phone number and isn’t listed anywhere on CMU’s website except as a logo/trade name. A recent request to the University’s information center for the contact information for CMU’s “Center for Local Government” came up empty.
  • David Ludlam, who worked for Scott McInnis when he was in Congress, was hired on as CMU’s Director of Public Relations in 2018. Ludlam formerly was the Executive Director of the Western Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association. We can assume that had he not been Republican, the job would not have been made available to him.

David Ludlam

Recognition and jobs given to family, friends and big donors

It’s also worth noting that most of the big construction projects at CMU have gone to Shaw Construction. Steve Meyer is a co-owner of Shaw Construction and the person the Meyer Ballroom at CMU’s University Center is named after. Steve Meyer donated the Meyer Ballroom to CMU.  Liz Meyer is Steve Meyer’s daughter-in-law and the wife of Sam Meyer, the Western Colorado President and part owner of Shaw Construction, so Liz has two family members at Shaw Construction. Liz Meyer was hired at CMU in 2013 as a “Development Officer” and has since been promoted to Chief Executive Officer of the CMU Foundation. Liz’s parents are Dennis Herzog, the former long time managing editor of the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, and Kathryn Herzog, who was the first Development Director for the CMU Foundation. Liz was essentially handed the same position her mother had before her.

This is not an exhaustive list of the cronyism that has gone on at CMU under Tim Foster. It’s just the cronyism we know about. Any additional information is welcome.

  59 comments for “A history of Republican cronyism at Colorado Mesa University

  1. Thank you Anne about writing about the impacts of cronyism at CMU. I want to address specifically the impact of this kind of system:

    “Cronyism mingles public with private interests, dismisses the value of truly skilled and knowledgeable people and discourages talented people who aren’t in the powerful person’s “club” from applying for jobs. It wastes taxpayer money on poorly skilled, unskilled or unqualified people, and it’s a tacit way a powerful person can signal that the people around him who belong to the wrong political persuasion are not only worthless, but powerless.”

    You mentioned the many temporary VP appointments. While I was there (left last year), there were no external searches carried out for any VP positions – almost all the people sitting in those positions were appointed by Foster or promoted from within. Cynthia Pemberton (former VP Academic Affairs) was the last VP that I remember there being an external search for. Some of these appointments might have be politically motivated, but many of these VPs seemed (at least to me) to be incompetent “yes men” (or women). Some of them were downright bullies and/or tolerant of bullying/workplace harassment. Most of them just lack vision. Some of them were plain weird (the former theater prof that cast himself in a compromising role with a student).

    I will say Foster’s success is making CMU look good to the public (self-promotion), and he has built up the “student experience” (i.e. new dorms, athletic facilities, dining facilities). CMU has also built up some strong programs in health sciences, trades, and engineering. But the admin has gutted its academics. They have a high turnover with faculty and some of the people teaching classes aren’t qualified to teach in the area they’re being hired for. You can see director positions going unfilled for up to 2-3 years. I could go on… The pandemic made it very clear that CMU has invested heavily in the student experience at the expense of academics. You can’t go virtual when you need to rent out dorm rooms.

    So then the question becomes, what happens in the next decade when demographics shift and there’s not enough 18-24 year olds to sustain what CMU has built up? I don’t have a lot of faith in CMU being able to weather these tides. Maybe that will change with John Marshall. But the school’s history and the lack of vision in the current slate of VPs doesn’t provide much hope. And I think it’s an important issue for the larger community given how central the university is for the local economy.

    • “You can’t go virtual when you need to rent out dorm rooms. ”

      I would love to see an outside audit of CMU’s entire enterprise. For a long time it has taken on the appearance of a giant ponzi scheme in which the growth-borrowing-growth cycle looks a whole lot like a dog eating its own tail.

  2. Dennis, I’m confused. Your daughter doesn’t list any job at Puget Sound on her LinkedIn resume. She mentioned it in some fluff piece Ludlum did, but she says it was “calling alumni” and since it was during her time as an undergraduate, it’s not the kind of job that anyone would consider adequate professional experience leading to a director position. It was a student job.

    I have admitted I was incorrect about the Land Trust in Wyoming being her only development position. I acknowledged that her resume lists 17 months (her words were one year and five months) at the Northwestern school of business in their corporate relations department. I acknowledged that.

    You, though, haven’t acknowledged that your “several years at Northwestern” was a stretch. Other than that, I’m simply reading her resume on LinkedIn. It’s available for anyone to look at.

    I understand that you’re defending your daughter, and I would defend my kids the same way, but I haven’t said anything untrue. So you can call me names and threaten me all you want, but I’m not wrong. And you have no idea who I am, unless you’re illegally hacking Anne’s server.

    • I never said several years at Northwestern. Her job at UPS was more than calling alumni, and she had increasing responsibilities every year. Why do you think kids value internships?. They are to get real world experience. And it does count. It was a real job in a real office of a real higher education development department. And her time at CMU before being named director was experience. Add it all up and it totals about 10 years, plus the land trust experience, which you say doesn’t count. Anyway, you also said you know at least 10 people with more higher ed development experience. Please name them. BTW anyone who relies on LinkedIn for a definitive picture of someone’s qualifications would never be allowed to work in my newsroom. That may be a place to start, but it’s hardly the only way to research someone.

      • I’m not a journalist, nor do I teach journalism, so your repeated jabs at my supposed journalistic integrity are strange. It’s also strange that Liz doesn’t list her work experience at Puget Sound OR whatever position she held at CMU before she [was appointed? Applied in a national search?] Director. What was the position at CMU before that? Was there a national or even regional search for Director? Since I’m not a journalist all I have (all anyone has) to go on is her resume posted on LinkedIn. Her resume isn’t listed anywhere else.

        I’m not going to list my ten friends’ names for your enjoyment, but they are high-level professional development officers, regional directors, legacy folks who go to peoples’ homes and work with their estate attorneys. Some are still in higher ed, a few have moved into other NPO development. I don’t know why you wanted me to list them… you may have all the newspaper experience, but I’ve worked in higher education since 1994 and have interacted with people in development at six different institutions. So yes, I know at least ten people who had far more experience than Liz did before they got to their current positions, including a few who would probably have applied for such a position if it was advertised nationally.

        But you’re dodging the question(s) about cronyism. I don’t know the answers, but I’m deeply concerned that the Foundation always seems to be run by someone Foster knows, and it’s never someone coming in from outside with real experience. Was the position advertised nationally? Was there a thorough search? Or was Liz a personal assistant to Foster who then took over when her mother stepped down? All any of us who aren’t journalists know is what we see happen again and again. Whether or not a journalist would stop at a professional’s LinkedIn resume, I do know that it’s something donors use. My friend who runs a major NPO in New England uses it all the time.

        • My thoughts on Anne’s cronyism story are in this thread, if you care to look. Just because I don’t agree with you doesn’t mean I didn’t tell you what they are. Oh, among the many errors you have posted, the latest is that my wife worked for Tim Foster. FYI: She never has. It’s hard for me to fathom that someone who has worked in higher ed as long as you fails so miserably at rigorous debate.

          • A. Good to know your daughter didn’t follow her mother directly in the same position. I did actually try to find out the chronology of who has worked as head of development at CMU, but I can’t find it.

            B. This isn’t “rigorous debate”. It’s a comments thread.

            C. It really sounds like you’re threatening me. I don’t know who you think I am, but I can promise you, you don’t have a clue. I am no one associated with the Board. I know one Trustee by reputation, since we volunteer in similar circles, and I know the Faculty Trustee by name, since she updates us on the Board. I don’t think I’ve ever met her socially or on campus. There’s a local Trustee who appears at social events with the Marshalls, who should have recused himself/herself from the search, and I saw that Tim Pollard had attended a Search Committee meeting in the publicly posted minutes. I don’t teach journalism, and I’m not a journalist. I’m just a concerned faculty member.

        • Wow, you’re so simple you think LinkedIn is all you have to research someone? Really? You don’t have a phone?

          • Okay, Robert, I’ll call a truce if you will simply do one thing: Write a post that says my daughter has about 10 years of higher ed development experience. That’s all you have to say, and it is true. Just to clear up a couple other issues:

            1. I questioned your journalistic chops because you lectured me on independent journalism.

            2. I never threatened you, other than to say that I think some of what you posted was potentially libelous. I still think it is.

            3. I don’t understand your obsession with national searches. But you think they are important, and that’s fine. I don’t share that view.

            4. I don’t know why Tim Pollard was at that meeting. I don’t really care. But I do know that before I made an issue of it I would try to find out if there was a legitimate reason. To not do that is irresponsible.

            5. I hope John Marshall is the next president of CMU. I know you disagree, which is your right.

            6. I enjoyed sparring with you for a while. I thought you made some fair points. But when you maliciously went after my daughter I changed my mind.

          • So that doesn’t answer my question. Sometimes our babies are not the gender or race that we were told they were and no one notices. It happens.

  3. Dennis, your “what-if” question about Foster hiring the best possible candidates who happen to be local is fantasy at best. So many of the people Anne mentions were merely appointed (no search), and if there was a search, for several of those positions, it was merely “run” locally. The way HR does that is that they “post” the position just on their website. Not on any of the regional or national job sites. And just look at how many of your local friends and family have held especially the Foundation jobs. It’s not a coincidence. They were not the best candidates from a national search, which is what the students, the institution, and the community deserve. There is simply no way that that many local GOP insiders, connections with Shaw, Penry, Pollard, the GJEP, the Chamber, the founding families of the valley, etc., were actually the very best candidates.

    And yes, that includes your daughter. She had experience in one position doing development for a land trust whose main goal is protecting land from development. That’s not higher education. No one believes there wasn’t a single better qualified candidate to run the CMU Foundation anywhere to be found. I can name ten people just within my circle of friends who have more fundraising experience in higher ed. The fact that her father-in-law donated the ballroom might be a selling point to the few remaining big money donors to CMU, but to the rest of academia it’s just another indicator of how inbred and influence-driven CMU is.

    • Sorry Robert but you should get your facts rights before inserting your foot in your mouth. I won’t go into all the errors in your post, but I will tell you are wrong about my daughter’s experience. She had several years of higher education development experience at Northwestern University (not exactly an inconsequential school) and the University of Puget Sound, and yes, she worked for the Jackson Hole Land Trust. Please update your post to correct the erroneous, and potentially libelous, information you spouted.

        • Do we know if Dennis has ever provided the long form birth certificate for his daughter? Or is he following Sarah Palin’s lead of not providing it, yet still claiming to be the parent a child who she “gave birth to” after having flown “WHILE IN LABOR” (against TSA rules) on a multi-city Alaska Airlines itinerary from Texas (where “her water broke”) to Anchorage, and then being driven to a facility over an hour away in a small city where there is no NICU (there is a NICU in Anchorage) as would be needed for a Down Syndrome biological birth. (Note: her doctor, retired “doctor CBJ”, was her cover, and still we don’t know for sure where that poor Down baby came from)

      • Oh please, Dennis, do point out “all the errors”. But maybe suggest to her that she update her resume and LinkedIn page first?

        She was an undergraduate at Puget Sound, correct? For four years, leaving when she completed her degree? During which part of those four years was she a working professional in higher ed development? Was it work study?

        Yes, I missed whatever she did at Northwestern because it was in “corporate relations”, but you’re calling 1 year and 5 months “several years”? That’s an embellishment. Her own LinkedIn page says 17 months.

        So to be clear, I had ONE error in my comment. She does have 17 months working in “corporate relations” for the Northwestern business school. As an assistant program manager. Nowhere near the experience it takes to run an entire Development program for a regional university. But it wasn’t “several years”, and who knows what she was doing while she was an undergraduate at Puget Sound? If she was a professional higher education development officer, she doesn’t list it. Seems like the kind of thing you’d list. I mean, unless it was a student/work study job.

          • I’m sorry… I don’t see an answer in there. Has she updated her resume? Because according to her resume, I’m right. An undergraduate work study type job at Puget Sound isn’t qualifying experience in higher education development. And 17 months in “corporate relations” as “associate program manager” is NOT “several years” in higher education development.

            But sure, I’m the stupid one.

        • And you lectured me about independent journalism? Seriously? See, there’s this thing about journalism. Dig deeper. But I don’t think you’d get that, because … well … you’re not very bright. So, live with your errors, but know they have consequences.

          • Dennis, if you’d like to go on the record and correct your daughter’s resume, please feel free.

          • No, Robert, I’m not going to correct your errors for you. You’ll have to do that yourself.

        • So, Robert, this is the last post you’ll hear from me on this blog. First, don’t think I don’t know who you are. It’s not that difficult to figure out. And, second, you’ll hear from me in another forum. Maybe in weeks, maybe in months, I’m not sure. But your refusal to correct your errors is a little annoying. So long, “Robert.”

        • So, here’s the deal, “Robert”: I said that there would be no more correspondence with you on this blog. But here’s yet one more missive. You impugned my daughter’s reputation, and you did so without knowing all the facts. Then you asked me to give you the correct facts. I will not do that. I didn’t make the error. You’ll have to either dig deeper and find the errors on your own, at which point, you would have to say, for all the readers of this blog, that you got it wrong. Or you can just say, now, that you got it wrong. Do either one and you and I can end this. It’s up to you.

          • And now we see why Denny’s old job is now occupied by a kid with a BA from Metro State.

            It’s a step up.

  4. And thanks for the mention of my daughter, Liz Meyer, and my wife, Kathy Herzog, and the good work they have done for the CMU Foundation. I’m proud of both of them.

      • The Federal Mineral Lease Act serves a mission to
        ALLEVIATE social, economic, and public finance impacts Resulting from the development of natural resources on federal lands.
        The Daily Sentinel on 04/11/2015 reported that “the John U. Tomlinson Library at Colorado Mesa University received the bulk of funding from the Mesa County Federal Mineral Lease District’s spring round of funding.
        The district awarded $504,560 to pay for technology improvements in the library. The award was the largest of several grants made by the district, which handed out $719,660.”
        A few days later in the Sentinel Kathy Herzog said, “ I want to publicly thank and congratulate the Mesa County Federal Mineral Lease District for it’s decision to invest in the CMU Tomlinson Library renovation and expansion project. This $24 million project to completely transform the 30-year-old campus library with a modern, technology-centric “cybrary” is truly an extraordinary milestone for our community and region.
        Providing students access to computers, reference librarians and fully equipped study space is an investment that will pay dividends for decades to come. In keeping with the mission of the district, investing in the library is an outstanding approach to offsetting impacts of mineral development while focusing on our collective future.”

    • Dennis, I’m sure your daughter is a very nice person, but that doesn’t change the fact that she is one of the more painfully obvious of Foster’s crony appointments at CMU.

      In the circles I was raised in, people won grades based on how hard they studied, how well they grasped the subject matter and the skills they developed on the way to adulthood. After that, we won our jobs based on our education, abilities, experience, skills, training, our work ethics, etc. I never once got handed a job because of who my parents were, who they donated money to, who they were friends with, or who I knew politically.

      A crony system like the one Tim Foster uses at CMU not only damages staff morale, it damages CMU’s reputation by valuing the wrong things and handing insiders all the advantages. It also discounts, devalues and dismisses entire classes of people who have worked hard, studied diligently, bothered to get the training and experience they need to be effective and who work their way up the ladder honestly and legitimately.

      • Let’s agree to disagree, Anne. You’ll never get me to agree that Liz wasn’t a great hire. On another matter, I assume you read my kudos to you on your city council election coverage. I seriously meant it. It was great work.

      • I’ve been giving your cronyism story a lot of thought, Anne. Here’s where I think your premise has a problem. If Tim’s hires were based entirely on whether they were buddies of his and nothing else, that would indeed be cronyism. But just suppose that all these hires that you contend were nothing more than cronyism were people who were actually qualified for the jobs. What would be wrong with that? In fact, that would be nothing more than the age-old, honorable practice of networking, something that everyone who enters the work force is encouraged to do. If you can prove that those hires were based on nothing more than having a connection to Tim and had nothing to do with their qualifications, then I’ll buy your argument. But remember, just suspecting something doesn’t make it a fact. Your turn.

  5. To prevent the anointment of John Marshall to the Presidency of CMU, I submit these personal examples of two pathetic litany of missteps and falls at CMU and the hiring process. I hadn’t been paying close attention to this lately. What I saw seemed different, but of course I didn’t know the politics of the nominees and I was never in on the big wigs, just the professors to replace ones retiring or leaving in the Social Science Department. There are two glaring examples of complete failures in my mind. One, Scott Hammond a local boy who was friends of my sons, graduated from Claremont College with a PhD in Philosophy and is now head of that Department at James Madison University in Virginia. He wanted to stay in Grand Junction and to teach with my husband, Lou Morton, who he thought a very good teacher as he had him the first two years of college at Mesa. One of Scott’s committee members that was to confer the PhD was traveling and thus he didn’t have the degree in hand, so Mesa wouldn’t even consider him for the job. A dumber mistake would be hard to make. That was a Thomlinson mistake, and I lived to tell him so. The next: We were each given a person looking for a position to wine and dine and show them around while they were in town. Our turn gave us an absolutely delightful young man who had just gotten his PhD from Illinois University. He fit in the department in all ways, he was funny, good with the students, so Lou said, and gave an excellent lecture. He was full of personality and everything he said contained concern and respect for the students, just what should have been an asset. A rather dour man got the job and I was heartbroken. The man stayed at Mesa, but moved to the computer department and then left, I think. This or similar things happened often, it seemed partly that the professors didn’t want to be outshone, I didn’t see politics involved, but then I wasn’t looking. I hope I haven’t hurt anyone’s feeling, but to prevent more of the same that we have to live with, I felt I had to speak up. I have often wondered what lucky University got the graduate of Illinois University and I am in contact with Scott Hammond and his family so I know where he is.

  6. You forgot to mention Peggy Lamm, who Tim hired as development director. But she was a Democrat, so I guess it didn’t fit your narrative.

    • That’s rich, coming from someone who spent a lot of time working for the Chamber of Commerce/Mesa County GOP’s propaganda machine.

      • You know, Seamus, this blog makes you write your name, and commenters who aren’t afraid to say things do just that. Don’t know why you don’t. Guess you like to cower behind anonymity. That’s fine, but here’s a fact you don’t know: I have never belonged to a political party, and never will. Let’s assume that Anne’s premise has some merit (which I don’t by they way, but she does and this is her blog) and Tim has hired a lot of his buddies. He has. But don’t you think he’s probably hired dozens and dozens of people in his 17 years at CMU? And do you (and Anne, too, for that matter) think the team he put together has not been extraordinarily effective? Don’t results count for something? And doesn’t the boss have a right to assemble his own team? On an unrelated note, and this is aimed more toward Anne: Your city council reporting was superb.

        • Yeah, Denny, we all know how the Sentinel and its staff has treated anonymity. Can’t have any dissent without threat of reprisals from the local businesses you knelt to. I can’t really take insult from someone whose fealty to the energy industry helped drive this valley into the space it’s in, and helped keep progress at bay until now people are desperate for anything to be happy about.

          But, at least -your- people were taken care of. That’s what GJ has always been about.

          • You needn’t worry about who I am, Denny. To you and your ilk, I’m nobody. I don’t have favors to trade, jobs to hand out, ads to buy that no one actually reads, or influence to peddle.

          • Trust me, Seamus, I’m not in the least bit worried about who you are. I am concerned, for you, though about the faulty synapses in your feverish mind.

          • Unlike the brilliant mind that made right-wing nutjob Gary Harmon a “straight news” reporter?

            K.

          • Now, now, Denny…You sure you don’t want to check with Diane Schwenke before making such a strong statement?

        • Dennis, the point is that cronyism (hiring your buddies) is against everything higher education stands for. The students, staff, and faculty deserve better than high-ranking appointments instead of national searches to bring in the best possible person for the job. Plus, it’s embarrassing. Anyone in higher ed can look at the strata of VPs that Foster has appointed and see both the cronyism and the lack of qualifications. The “results” you see have come with much greater strife, learning curves, and flat-out ineptitude than would have happened had we run national searches. Foster has made these buddy hires at the expense of what students and the Western Slope deserves. We’ve lost really good people because of some of these hires, and we’ve missed out on bringing fresh ideas, experience, and creative solutions to problems.

          It’s also created a culture of fear, in which staff and faculty are afraid to stand up to Foster—even when he’s wrong, abusive, or when students suffer because of administrative decisions. People are punished for speaking up.

          And if you were a real newspaperman, you’d demand an explanation for why Tim Pollard was at one of the search committee meetings, and why certain Trustees haven’t abstained from this process, given their personal connections with John Marshall and Foster.

          CMU plays on a bigger stage now, and yes, that’s in large part thanks to Foster. But as we pull more and more students from the front range and out of state, as we need to pull in better faculty members (and KEEP them), and as our impact on the economy of the Grand Valley continues to grow, we must move past the old way of doing things.

          • It’s fitting that the Sentinel will end up being not much more than the High Country Shopper.

          • That’s a thoughtful response. I do think of myself as a (retired) real newspaperman, and only wish you could have been privy to some of the many knock-down, drag-out arguments Tim and I have had over the years. That said, I believe he has been a great leader for CMU and CMU means a great deal to this community.

          • Dennis, behind the scenes fights aren’t the same thing as an independent press. The role of the press is to shine a light on the behind the scenes activities that the public should hear about.

            If CMU is as important to the community as you say, then the community should know that many, many staff and faculty are tired of the good ole boy network and believe that our students deserve a change. They deserve to have someone who truly understands the most important part of any university—the academics. John Marshall is not that person, and all of the VPs Foster has appointed without national searches (including your daughter) are a really bad look. Cronyism is not professional, eliminates and scares off truly dedicated, experienced people, and teaches our students that success comes from who you know rather than what you do.

            Please consider having the Sentinel cover the concerns I mentioned. Show us that American journalism is still what it once was. Tim Pollard should NOT have been at that meeting, given his and his wife’s close personal relationship with the Marshalls. And there is at least one Trustee with a similar friendship with Linde and John. That Trustee should recuse him/herself. Write an editorial about that. Please.

          • Robert — I don’t disagree completely with what you say, although faculty is just one stakeholder out of many at CMU, and to the best of my knowledge Tim has conducted national searches for many administrators. As a father, I have to come to the defense of my daughter who has much experience in higher education development — at CMU before she was named director, at Northwestern University and at the University of Puget Sound. I think you are under the mistaken impression that I still have some sway at The Daily Sentinel. I left there in 2009. I’d suggest you make your pitch to Jay Seaton. He’s a reasonable guy and I’m sure he’d listen. Don’t know whether he will agree. But he’s a stand-up newspaper guy. Oh, and internal arguments and conversations with news sources are not the only thing that makes an independent press, but they are certainly one thing. I find this whole thread amusing. It’s mainly, as near as I can tell, left-leaning people accusing The Daily Sentinel of doing the bidding of the other side — and offering no factual evidence. Trust me, the other side used to (and I’m sure still does) accuse the Sentinel of being too liberal. I’m guessing I heard more from them than from progressives during my 30 years of listening to reader complaints. You can think what you want about the Sentinel, but I know for a fact that it’s in nobody’s pocket. That’s not speculation. It’s fact. Thanks for your insights.

        • Oh, Seamus, you’re such a hoot. But seriously, you’re trying to swim in the deep end of the pool, and your mommy forgot to send you with your water wings. We’re truly concerned that you might drown.

          • The Sentinel under the “Herzog Administration” was anything but deep. Pretty much Tabletop Tickles-N-Bits, but a little less Liberal, and without the real estate ads.

          • Whatever, Seamus. Don’t understand your nonsensical wanna-be sentences. At any rate, you’ll get no more responses from me. Good luck with whatever you’re trying to say.

          • The problem with trading your integrity for influence is that once your influence is gone, you have nothing left to barter with.

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