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(Re: “Stop the presses,” cover story, May 28.) As an 18-year employee of the University of Colorado and a longtime staff council representative, I was deeply saddened to hear that President Benson has decided to eliminate the Silver & Gold Record, effective with the May 14 edition. As a member of the Silver & Gold Record Editorial Board, I was shocked and stunned when the board was informed at a May 1 board meeting, with no prior consultation, of the president’s decision to kill the publication. We are all aware of the financial challenges facing the University of Colorado, but there were various alternatives on the table that could have been considered in lieu of complete elimination of the only independent voice for faculty and staff. The Silver & Gold staff had offered to take voluntary furloughs and/or reductions in light of the budget crisis. The president’s office must not have considered that a viable alternative to the complete elimination of the publication and its nine staff members.
According to Leonard Dinegar, vice president for administration and chief of staff, the decision to eliminate the Silver & Gold is final. The decision is irreversible. At the May 1 Silver & Gold Editorial Board meeting, I asked Vice President Dinegar how faculty and staff will get information on legislative issues in the future, since we now get the specifics from the Silver & Gold reporting. Dinegar said that faculty and staff will be getting legislative information from the system office of government relations, part of the president’s office. In response to Dinegar’s remarks, I recalled that last fall, at the request of the president, the regents approved a newly created position of vice president for government relations, with a five-year contract and a salary of $175,000 a year. Interestingly, at the same regents’ meeting (Oct. 6-7, 2008) all three chancellors said they were following the hiring guidelines set by the president’s office for filling general-fund-supported positions. According to an Silver & Gold article, dated Oct. 9, 2008, “In an Oct. 3 memo, Benson asked the chancellors and vice presidents to take additional steps to be fiscally prudent, by assessing ‘the urgency and critical nature of filling any vacant or new general-funded positions,’ and if the position is not critical or urgent, postponing hiring through the end of the calendar year.”
In essence, Benson was advising the chancellors not to make any new hires unless absolutely necessary. According to a CU compensation chart for 2008-09, posted on a CU website, the salaries alone of the government relations office exceed the entire budget of the Silver & Gold. Apparently, lobbying is more important than retaining the Silver & Gold Record, which, in the words of President Benson, “has been a source of information for the CU community for nearly 40 years.”
It seems obvious where the priorities of the president’s office lie. Faculty and staff who support retention of the Silver & Gold Record
should contact the regents, the president’s office and your state legislators. The president works for the regents, and the regents work for us.
Thanks to Boulder Weekly and Erica Grossman for taking a more in-depth look at the situation surrounding CU’s decision to close the Silver & Gold. I recall that CU closed another paper a few decades back because that paper took editorial positions the administration found embarassing. That paper — the Colorado Daily — managed to find its footing for a time and went on to kick the university’s ass before falling into corporate hands. I have no trouble believing that there was more than budget issues on administrators’ minds this time, too.
Robert Gordon/Fort Collins
Our secular nation
(Re: “Our Christian nation,” Letters, May 28.) In response to David Cook’s letter, rather than quote the son of John Adams, who tied Christian principles to government and the Revolution, I will simply quote the Founding Fathers of this country:
John Adams: “The government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.”
Thomas Jefferson: “History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.”
Thomas Paine: “All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.”
James Madison: “The Civil Government, though bereft of everything like an associated hierarchy, possess the requisite stability and performs its functions with complete success, whilst the number, the industry, and the morality of the priesthood, and the devotion of
the people have been manifestly increased by the separation of the Church from the State.”
Mr. Cook, have you noticed that God or Jesus Christ aren’t mentioned once in the Constitution? Don’t you think there was probably a reason?
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