Pending a decision by the CSU System Board of Governors to split the CSU president and chancellor roles, former State Rep. Bernie Buescher said Tuesday that his interest lies in the potential chancellor position for now but he “is very interested in CSU.”
Because he said it is very unlikely that the BOG make the decision not to split the posts, Buescher did not confirm an interest in the CSU-Fort Collins president position, but he reiterated that his interest is in CSU.
“Right now, I’m interested in the chancellor position, because that’s what (the board is) talking about,” he said.
Buescher said that he did not want to get ahead of a decision still in the hands of BOG trustees but said he meets what the board has listed as qualifications of a potential chancellor – an already established good relationship with both Gov. Bill Ritter and the state legislature, plus the ability to work well will the business community and CSU alumni.
BOG spokesperson Michele McKinney said that no one is being considered for a chancellor role yet, as “there really isn’t a job offer out there.”
“There are a lot of steps to be taken before a job is even posted,” she said.
The board is considering splitting the president and chancellor duties for the first time in decades, as the CSU-Fort Collins president has traditionally worn both hats.
McKinney said the board feels that it may be in the best interest of all of its campuses – CSU-Fort Collins, CSU-Pueblo and CSU Global – to have a CSU System ambassador stationed in Denver at all times to represent student needs to the state legislature.
Buescher, a Democrat who acted as chair of the Joint Budget Committee and chair of the House Appropriations Committee, ran for re-election to the Joint Budget Committee chair this year and lost.
And while his potential competitor for the chancellor position, former U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard, has explicit ties to the CSU campus – Allard and his wife are both alumni, and he is a third generation CSU attendee in his family – Buescher said his links are expressed through the work he has done for the campus and with the students.
Buescher said he formerly worked closely with the Associated Students of CSU and cited his discussions with student reps. like August Ritter, former student government director of legislative affairs, regarding their ongoing concerns with tuition rates and adjustments made to the Colorado Long Bill.
The bill, which dictates student tuition rates, was a prominent subject of concern last year, when former CSU President Larry Penley added a last-minute provision to it that would have raised tuition by 43 percent.
The move – stopped at the last second by ASCSU representatives – caused a public drift between Penley and Ritter and “rocky relationship” with the legislature, said Seth Walters, current student government director of legislative affairs.
Buescher, who said he recently visited the CSU-Fort Collins campus and will re-visit CSU-Pueblo soon, said talks with students about what they will expect from their next leadership will be ongoing.
“My management style is collaborative, and I spend a lot of time listening,” he said. “When it’s the right time, I want to hear the concerns of students.”
The BOG is expected to discuss its decision regarding the potential position split at its next meeting, set for Dec. 2.
News Managing Editor Elyse Jarvis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.