CMU speaker to address issues of left vs. right on Boulder campus

The first step in determining to solve a problem is identifying one in the first place.

In theory, that’s what is behind the recent creation of a three-year pilot program at the University of Colorado at Boulder, establishing a Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy.

The inaugural visiting conservative scholar, Steven Hayward, will be at Colorado Mesa University on Saturday to talk about his experiences through three months of trying to bridge the ideological divide in Boulder.

“Most universities are liberal. It’s just been that way for 75 years. This is not new,” Hayward said Thursday, in advance of his weekend visit to CMU.

He said he considered it “pretty remarkable” that CU would tacitly admit the leftward balance that obviously exists at the school, and then do something to potentially address the issue.

Hayward has been in Boulder for about three months, and will be sharing a lot of his experiences so far at his presentation on Saturday.

“One of the surprises is, there are a fair number of conservatives on the university faculty — scattered in little hidden corners,” he said. “The reason most people don’t know about it is, they’re busy teaching their particular subjects.”

And amid increasing stories nationwide of leftists on college campuses shouting down or protesting conservative speakers, Hayward said that hasn’t been the case so far in Boulder. He says his speaking engagements have been well-attended and collegial so far.

“I think the idea is for me to be a rallying point for the small number of conservative faculty, but also conservative students, and inject some speakers that they otherwise wouldn’t hear,” Hayward said.

Hayward will appear at CMU Saturday because of an invitation from local CU Regent Glen Gallegos, who is in an interesting spot as a representative of a largely conservative congressional district at a decidedly liberal school.

“Being a regent for this area, what I’d like to do is to make CU more viable over on this side of the mountain,” Gallegos said.

For him, an ideological gulf that certainly existed between the liberal culture at the university in Boulder and the acceptance of conservative ideas really narrowed as a result of the very public separation the college made with controversial professor Ward Churchill some years back.

“Ever since it became clear that (school officials) weren’t going to hire him back — that they were going to do everything they could to keep him off of the faculty — it seems like things kind of changed,” Gallegos said. “I saw a real change.”

“Especially in a public college or university, you have an obligation to teach to both sides of the story,” Gallegos said. “That’s part of the college experience — to let kids make up their own minds.”

Hayward’s presentation is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at CMU’s Moss Performing Arts Center’s Recital Hall, following a 9:30 a.m. reception. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Registration can be completed online by visiting http://bit.ly/CTP-CU.


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