Hutchinson enters the mayoral race

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Dec 232008
 
Authors: Madeline Novey

Current Fort Collins Mayor Doug Johnson announced this morning that he would run for a third term in the April 2009 City Election.

Elected to his post in both 2005 and 2007, Hutchinson said that while this will be his final term, he wants to continue to develop the economic and political ideas and tools his campaign has created in the past four years.

“Over the past few years, we have created a lot of tools to work with those problems,” Hutchinson said of the Fort Collins economic and job situations. “We’re a great city, but I think we can be a better city.”

The incumbent, Hutchinson, currently faces the only other declared candidate for mayor, Tom Griggs, a University of Northern Colorado education professor, who announced his candidacy in Old Town Square on Dec. 6.

Spokesman for Tom Griggs James Thompson said that Griggs was not available for an interview with the Collegian Saturday.

In a press release Griggs said, “The mayor has put serious effort into his work at City Hall and I commend him for that. But the time has come for us to start moving in a more positive direction.”

Griggs said in early December that the Fort Collins economy is his top priority, along with providing solutions to improve transportation, sustainable energy practices and job creation.

Compared with Griggs, who made his announcement surrounded by Democratic officials, Hutchinson said that he has been very careful to remain nonpartisan according to city election rules.

And while he said he had been criticized for doing so, Hutchinson said he is not going to ask for any political party endorsement because party ties inevitably come with “strings.”

“I think it’s really important that we have a city government that responds to the citizens and not to the parties,” he said.

Adding that he was not entirely familiar with Griggs’ plan for Fort Collins, Hutchinson said, “It’s always great to have new ideas.”

Hutchinson said that he’d like to pursue his vision of Fort Collins becoming a “world class city” and will do this by improving and developing three things including:

/ A robust sustainable economy

/ A vibrant community with effective city services and transportation among others

/ A healthy environment by maintaining Fort Collins’ rivers, resources and exploring clean energy.

Noting that there is no simple answer when it comes to creating more jobs in Fort Collins and boosting the economy, he said that his campaign took a huge step toward improvement in 2005 when the city cut the budget by $15 million.

Hutchinson said the city’s disciplined budget process and abandonment of the old bureaucratic system was one way Fort Collins was able to save money and put $5 million back into the budget. He said this money would act as a “hedge” against future economic problems.

Having worked with city officials and organizations, the Economic Development Task Force, CSU and UniverCity to improve the city’s economy, Hutchinson said that he would continue to attract businesses to Fort Collins and retain existing jobs.

“The city isn’t going to directly provide jobs,” Hutchinson said. “But we can be a catalyst and attract entrepreneurs to help this.”

The 1965 CSU graduate said that he has always felt strong ties with the university and its students and hopes to continue to grow the relationship.

Hutchinson said that he has taken every opportunity to meet with CSU students partaking in forums with the Associated Students of CSU and working to identify issues that concern the students the student government represents.

Encouraging communication future communication, Hutchinson said that the students vote is important because “students are citizens.”

The City Elections are by mail-in ballot only and the city will send out ballots to all people who live within the city limits. Ballots are due by 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 7, 2009 by mail or to the Larimer County Clerk and Recorder.

Assistant News Editor Madeline Novey can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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CSU dean ascends to interim provost

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Dec 232008
 
Authors: Elyse Jarvis

Interim CSU President Tony Frank announced this week that Rick Miranda, current dean of the college of natural sciences, will take up the position of interim CSU provost, effective after the holiday season.

Frank previously maintained the provost post prior to stepping into the role of interim CSU president upon former CSU President Larry Penley’s resignation on Nov. 5.

In a statement to campus colleagues, Frank thanked both Miranda and his competitor for the role, Sandy Woods, dean of the college of Engineering, for their willingness to step into the role during a period of “change and transition at our university.”

“(Miranda) has proven himself a thoughtful, collaborative academic leader with a great respect for the process of academic governance and a strong, personal commitment to students and the land-grant mission,” Frank said in an e-mail. “I believe he will do a fine job as interim provost.”

Miranda’s experience spans a 27-year tenure at CSU and includes roles as professor, chair of the Mathematics department and, currently, dean.

“This is my home,” Miranda said in public forum this month. “I care a lot about Colorado State; its successes and the successes of our interim president are important to me, and what motivates me is to do things well.”

At the meeting, Miranda said where and how best to make cuts must be an immediate discussion, as institutions of higher learning in Colorado, Frank has said, are almost certain to face cuts in funding from the state.

“I hope to make decisions in a very open and transparent way,” he said.

Taylor Smoot, student government president, said he believes Miranda will keep in line with a spirit of open communication with the students.

Frank’s permanent position within CSU depends on a decision from the CSU System Board of Governors, which must decide who will become the next permanent president of CSU-Fort Collins. Frank has said he is unsure whether he will return to the provost position.

News Managing Editor Elyse Jarvis can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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CSU college of Business to extend distance MBA program

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Dec 232008
 
Authors:

CSU’s College of Business and The Graduate School, USDA, which is a non-appropriated fund government entity created to provide adult continuing education, has partnered to present the business program’s distance MBA curriculum to graduate students within the USDA program.

Susan Meyer, director of the Professional and Distant MBA program at CSU, said Ajay Menon, dean of the College of Business, and Peter Dorhout, vice provost of Graduate Programs, approved the partnership as representatives of CSU.

According to Meyer, distance learning has become popular throughout the decades, and the College of Business has the oldest distance program in that nation and has participated in distance education since 1967. The Distance MBA Program has served students in all 50 states, nearly all the Canadian provinces and in over 40 countries around the world. Currently, there are over 800 students studying for their MBA.

Because of the college’s previous experience and prior knowledge in distance education, it will be organizing the technology used to deliver course content via mixed-media technology and video streaming.

“What we offer is technology for today’s and tomorrow’s generation, anytime and anywhere,” said Jerry Ice, chief executive officer of the Graduate School, USDA.

The Graduate College, USDA is currently using online technologies to deliver content but is eager to be able to expand their expertise.

“The primary instructors for (the Graduate School, USDA) are quite excited about this adventure,” Meyer said.

The MBA will permit CSU to serve the federal government as a vertical market, she said.

“We are currently addressing federal, state and local government’s concerns for the future regarding hiring and retention of Generation Y applicants,” Ice said. “Our online education programs set the benchmark for live and self-paced training.”

The classroom dynamic is captured on video including the full lecture, power points, Smart Board slides, student questions, discussions, presentations and speakers.

“The beauty of this program is that the on-campus professional MBA program is held in Rockwell Hall four nights per week.recorded to DVD, duplicated and mailed out to the College of Business the very next morning to the hundreds of students enrolled in the particular class,” Meyer said. “Students see and hear first-hand the same learning environment that students in class do.”

This partnership is what the College of Business has been looking for to influence their MBA program in the public eye, Meyer said, as when he was appointed dean, Menon said he hoped to build on its progress and strengths to learn from the business community, alumni and friends.

Classes for the Federal Financial Management Certificate will begin on March 1.

Staff writer Justyna Tomtas can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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Fort Collins receives $750,000 for affordable housing

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Dec 232008
 
Authors: Stephen Lin

In an effort to improve housing conditions, this month the Fort Collins City Council approved over $750,000 for a variety of affordable housing projects, to be divided into four parts.

First-time homebuyers will be able to access $250,000 set aside for the down payment assistance program. Another $250,000 was donated to CARE Housing, a non-profit organization whose mission is to “advocate for and provide affordable housing to low income working families.”

The Neighbor to Neighbor and the Fort Collins Housing Corporation will receive $150,000. Both of these programs focus on affordable housing and will use the money to make safety and maintenance upgrades to their properties.

The Larimer Home Improvement Program received $100,000. The program, run by the Housing Authority of the City of Loveland, provides loans to families needing home repairs.

According to their Web site, the City of Fort Collins provides funds for “public services, community development activities and affordable housing projects” through a competitive process. This competitive process is only open to programs that assist people through affordable housing projects or housing development.

Ken Waido, city planner of Fort Collins, said he was pleased with these programs.

“The most gratifying aspect,” he said, “is seeing the citizens of Fort Collins have the opportunity to better themselves and their living environments and contribute to society.”

“The entire community benefits from these programs,” he said.

The properties that these groups own all work with the mission of helping people around the city of Fort Collins afford their homes.

The Affordable Housing program falls under the Advance Planning division of the Planning, Development and Transportation Department. Advance Planning is also responsible for Historic Preservation, Demographics, CDBG program and Long Range Planning.

The next funding cycle in the spring will be open to public services, community development and affordable housing projects. The application will be available on January 19 and due February 19.

The programs are first chosen by the Affordable Housing Board and then the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Commission interviews applicants. The Commission gives their recommendation to the City Council which then conducts a public hearing to make the final decision.

Staff writer Stephen Lin can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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Transfort changes to affect students, staff

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Dec 232008
 
Authors: Ariel SenaCalvillo

As part of its large step-by-step plan to implement changes to its bus system, Transfort presented proposed service changes in public forum this month, leaving several riders to find alternate routes or to continue without the convenience of riding.

These changes came as a response to the riders’ most frequent comments and plans for change: access to lower income neighborhoods, increased hours of operation and the implementation of a grid system.

Changed routes include routes 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 17, 18 and 19. Most, officials said, were changed to accommodate school schedules or were extended to reach more areas. The largest change is the elimination of route 4 per what was cited as its inability to reach standards.

Some riders trying to find alternative routes said they are meeting the challenge with difficulty.

“None of (the routes) seem totally safe,” said Dusty Wedemeyer, a CSU employee who rides route 4. The elimination of the route she’s been using for 26 years has left even the bus drivers who know her concerned about how she’ll get to work, she said.

Available to respond to public comments at the forum was Transit Planner Nicole Hahn, who worked directly with the Associated Students of CSU to change the routes to better accommodate students and staff.

Not everyone, though, she said, could be served with these new changes.

“We use the resources we have the best we can,” Hahn said.

With the elimination of route 4 and new schedules for other routes, some students said they won’t be able to ride due to overcrowding on Transfort’s buses.

“I usually have to stand on the way,” junior public relations major Ashley Frost said. Frost said she was also concerned that the new schedule would affect finals weeks and suggested different schedules for those times.

Transfort will hold another public forum with revised phases for the transition at the end of February 2009. Changes will begin to be seen in March 2009.

Staff writer Ariel Sena-Calvillo can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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MLK parade changes to foster unity, empowerment

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Dec 232008
 
Authors: Jim Sojourner

In August of 1963, hundreds of thousands of protesters marched on Washington in support of the Civil Rights Bill under the leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. On Jan. 19 of next year, Fort Collins will have a march of its own to commemorate the birth of the historic leader and to celebrate the civil rights advances humanity has made since that late summer day more than four decades ago.

After being canceled the past two years due to frigid temperatures, parade organizer Lance Wright said the one-mile march route, which has traditionally ended outside in Old Town, has been changed.

To accommodate speakers and parade marchers, Wright said this year’s march will begin in Old Town, proceed down College Ave. to Laurel Street, stomp across the center of the Oval to Isotope Drive and end in the Lory Student Center’s Main Ballroom, where the keynote speaker will present.

“The parade signifies unity, coming together and the empowerment of meeting in that context,” said Marlon Blake, an employee in CSU’s Black Student Services office. Moreover, he said, that unity and empowerment is within “not just black people, but all people.”

Wright stressed that the new plan makes the march more accessible to all community members in all weather — rain or shine, hot or cold — and allows for enhanced video and audio capabilities.

Most importantly, he said, the new plan makes community involvement in the historic significance and symbolism of the march easier.

“I think it’s really important in all communities,” Wright said about the history and civil issues the parade underscores, “but it’s particularly important in a predominantly white community.”

He said many people often think, incorrectly, of the civil rights movement as something that happened in the past and ended.

“(This celebration) is a key reminder that there are still civil rights struggles going on today,” Wright said. “It’s both historic and current.”

Dawnelle Schlagel, a sophomore psychology major, said she, too, believes that remembering and understanding the past is critical for shaping a bright present and future.

“We learn from our past and learn from our mistakes,” Schlagel said. “If we forget, we can’t learn.” Blake said he feels the march has a special significance because of its symbolic ties to the many marches that took place around the country during the 1960s and said communities need to commemorate those struggles to keep reminding themselves that there is “still work to do.”

“It’s important to always remember where we are from and where we need to go,” he said.

In addition to the march, which begins at 11 a.m. Jan. 19, a poetry and essay reading, showcasing the works of Poudre Valley School District students, will be held at the CSU Bookstore in the Lory Student Center at 9:30 a.m.

Keynote presenter Denise Hall, who is the director of Mother Earth Reverence Farms and Wellness Veterinary Clinic in Greeley and an intern minister at Foothills Unitarian Church in Fort Collins, will speak in the ballroom to conclude the parade at 11:45 a.m.

Roads along the parade route will be closed to traffic during the event.

Senior Reporter Jim Sojourner can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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Frank cuts administrative budget by additional $1 million

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Dec 232008
 
Authors: Elyse Jarvis

12/15/2008

After cutting almost $500,000 in campus administrative positions last month, interim CSU President Tony Frank announced today that he will cut an additional $1 million from the university’s budget to be added to a now-$1.5 million reserve fund.

The cuts, he said in an e-mail, will apply to the areas of administrative services, financial affairs, public affairs and units directly reporting to the President’s office.

“The majority of these cuts will come from elimination of currently vacant staff positions, with some additional streamlining within the units to reduce duplication of effort and create greater efficiency,” he said.

In an interview, Frank said he preferred not to comment about which positions would be eliminated, as they will be announced after the holidays.

While Frank said further cuts are not planned at this time, there may be more on the horizon should further reductions from the state occur.

“My guess is more (state cuts) are coming,” he said. “We need to act and act in ways that preserve the academic core of the university.”

He said the reserve fund would help the campus navigate the budget situation that will be reviewed with stakeholders and the CSU System Board of Governors in the next few months.

If state cuts are deep enough, CSU may have to turn to cutting open faculty positions, Frank said.

“We’d try to do that as a last resort.”

Though he said such choices are difficult and may impact colleagues and friends, he also said he “believe(s) these reductions are in the best interest of the institution and its commitment to fiscal accountability and efficiency.”

“Clearly, there are economic uncertainties and challenges ahead, but I believe we will be able to build a solid budget that will protect the academic core of the University, advance accessibility, improve some critical areas, and take some significant steps forward in assuring a long-term stable financial foundation for CSU,” he said.

CSU’s open strategic planning hearings are set for late January and its open budget hearings begin in March.

In his e-mail, Frank promised to work to keep the university closely informed as fiscal year 2010’s budget develops.

News Managing Editor Elyse Jarvis can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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CSU-Global Campus receives accreditation

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Dec 232008
 
Authors: Madeline Novey

12/16/2008

After receiving approval for shared joint accreditation with CSU-Fort Collins and CSU-Pueblo last week, the CSU-Global Campus hopes to achieve individual accreditation by 2010 an official said Tuesday.

The accreditation, awarded by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges this week four months after Global Campus’ founding, verifies that the institution meets rigorous educational standards and requirements set by the Higher Learning Commission.

“The most important value of accreditation is that it gives an assurance to students that credits they’re taking and classes they’re taking will be transferable to other accredited institutions,” said Chief Academic Officer of CSU-Global Robert Jones.

Accreditation was awarded by the HLC after a site visit and interviews with former President and Chancellor Larry Penley, the CSU-Pueblo President Joseph Garcia and CSU-Pueblo and Fort Collins Provosts said CSU spokesperson Michele McKinney.

Jones said that the online university expects to see a “bump” in enrollment after the recent accreditation which will lend to Global Campus’ enrollment goal of 22,000 students in the next five years.

CSU-Global Campus currently shares joint accreditation with CSU-Fort Collins and CSU-Pueblo’s but hopes to achieve individual accreditation by 2010 Jones said.

Over the next few years, CSU-Global officials will look at all aspects of the institution, complete a self-evaluation of its progress and weaknesses and after interviews with HLC site representatives, will await approval for accreditation.

Accreditation awarded by the HLC is achieved by an individual institution through completion of a voluntary assessment of the university or college’s financial stability, student academic achievement, admissions and other standards according to the HLC Handbook of Accreditation.

Jones said that the validations of the university’s programs are now federally acceptable in the eyes of the federal government. This allows students eligibility for federal loans, which are only available to those at an accredited institution.

Students at CSU-Global can earn bachelor’s degrees, advanced degrees and master’s degrees by completing coursework taught by CSU faculty on-line.

Undergraduate programs include a Bachelor of Science in Business Management, Bachelor of Science in Administration, among others, and graduate programs include a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership and a Master of Science in Teaching and Learning.

The average student-to-faculty ratio in classes is 20 to 1, which is better than the 40 or 50 to 1 that many other online universities boast and leads to better faculty-to-student interaction.

Despite opposition from CSU faculty in response to a $12 million loan to create the online education institution, CEO Rich Schweigert said in an interview in October that the university saw Global Campus as an investment in a growing, online education marketplace.

It is required that the loan be paid back, plus interest, within five years. Schweigert said the money will be paid back and that with increased enrollment, the online university will return a net gain of tens of millions of dollars to the CSU System and the physical campus.

Global Campus currently has a total enrollment of 1,050. The student body, with an average age of 37, is made up of an older demographic of working adults and non-traditional students who want to earn a bachelor’s degree, advanced degree or professional training.

Jones said that CSU-Global is right on track with enrollment goals and that the accreditation will help the institution “move forward rapidly toward that goal.”

“We are still on that course; that plan for five years,” Jones said of the recent enrollment rates and the university’s future goals. “(The accreditation) is part of the plan to develop Global Campus.”

Assistant News Editor Madeline Novey can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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CSU board splits president and chancellor roles

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Dec 232008
 
Authors: Elyse Jarvis

12/16/2008

After deliberation, discussion and statewide speculation spanning over a month’s time, the CSU System Board of Governors concluded Tuesday that it will split the positions of CSU-Fort Collins president and CSU system chancellor, a spokesperson said Tuesday.

Meeting in public forum, the board discussed the role and mission of the system and, after reviewing leadership models from universities across the country, came to the consensus that the positions should be separate, said Michele McKinney, BOG spokesperson.

“There was no vote, and no formal action taken,” McKinney said. “(The board members) all came to agreement that that’s the direction they’d like to see university go in.”

Next, she said, the BOG will begin the process of scheduling meetings in which CSU stakeholders can voice their thoughts regarding what characteristics and experience a future system chancellor should hold.

Though a search committee to hire the president and chancellor has not yet been established, the board intends to organize the stakeholder meetings to take place within the next 30 to 60 days, McKinney said.

The meetings’ findings will determine whether the search process will be statewide or nationwide.

“There are many steps in the process, but we are moving forward,” she said.

The new role is one that, formerly, CSU-Fort Collins presidents were responsible for taking on in addition to university presidential duties, with the CSU-Pueblo president reporting to the CSU-Fort Collins president.

Following former CSU President Larry Penley’s abrupt departure Nov. 5, the BOG said it felt a split may be necessary. Having an authority based in Denver to represent student needs to the state legislature, they said, may be most beneficial for the entire system. The system is made up of both CSU-Fort Collins, CSU-Pueblo and CSU-Global.

Last month, both retiring Sen. Wayne Allard and former State Rep. Bernie Buescher expressed interest in the chancellor role prior to its official existence.

Tuesday, Buescher he would like to see a job description for the chancellor position prior to declaring that he will seek after it.

“I’m interested, but I’m going to really reserve my thoughts until I see what the (board members) do and what the job description looks like,” he said. “In concept, (the job) sounds good, but the devil is always in the details, and I’d like to look at that before I express real, solid interest.”

Buescher said he is also in talks with Gov. Bill Ritter, D-Colo., to become Colorado’s next secretary of state. He said he suspects he will know whether he will be offered that position within the next month.

He did not comment as to whether he would take the secretary of state position should it be offered to him, saying he would “cross that bridge when (he gets) there.”

While Steve Wymer, a spokesperson for Allard, said the former senator does not have a clear description of the job’s details either, “(Allard’s) interest absolutely does still exist, and he looks forward to any formal invitation to apply.”

“(Allard) would like to have his name considered for the position,” Wymer said.

Wymer said Allard would be an ideal figure to take on a fundraising, public relations and legislative position for the CSU system, as these are rumored to be what the board would like to see in a chancellor.

In expressing his desire to work with the university, Allard is also interested in who the CSU-Fort Collins president will be, Wymer said.

“He obviously has a good relationship with Tony Frank and would look forward to working with him,” Wymer said.

Frank took up the CSU-Fort Collins helm following Penley’s departure. BOG chair Doug Jones and Rich Schweigert, chief executive officer of CSU Global, have since shared the chancellor’s duties.

Penley’s attention to the Fort Collins campus came under criticism recently, as some university figures felt most of his time was spent in areas outside of the university, forcing his on-campus colleagues to pick up the responsibilities at home.

Rick Miranda, current dean of the college of natural sciences and candidate for interim university provost, said the difference between Penley’s presidency and Frank’s is akin to a swing from one end of the pendulum to the other in terms of budget priorities and internal involvement.

Frank’s ascension, Miranda said, can be credited to both his experience at CSU and Penley’s lack of interior focus, and he said the position split between chancellor and CSU-Fort Collins president will allow the president more time on campus.

“I would hope that it would never swing back to the other end of the spectrum (which had less internal involvement),” Miranda said. “(That) would mean whoever the next provost is would have a little less power over things than Tony Frank did, and that would be healthy.”

The BOG will decide where and when the first stakeholders meeting will take place in the next week and a half.

McKinney said she anticipates the meetings will take place on the CSU-Fort Collins and CSU-Pueblo campuses, in Denver and, potentially, in the outlying western slopes and the northeastern corner of the state.

“All of those decisions,” McKinney reiterated, “will need to be determined.”

News Managing Editor Elyse Jarvis can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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An investigation ongoing, CSU police chief put on leave

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Dec 232008
 
Authors: Elyse Jarvis

Pending an ongoing personnel investigation, CSU put Dexter Yarbrough, chief of the CSU Police Department and associate vice president of the Department of Public Safety, on paid leave beginning last Friday, a university spokesperson said.

Yarbrough will remain on leave for “as long as the investigation lasts,” said Dell Rae Moellenberg, university spokesperson.

Moellenberg said she could not comment as to who is leading the investigation and said no additional details could be released at this time due to confidentiality requirements surrounding personnel issues.

“The university is following standard practices and police protocol for an investigation of a law enforcement officer,” a university statement said.

A public safety representative on-campus said the police chief was not available for comment.

Former CSU President Larry Penley promoted Yarbrough to associate vice president of the department of public safety this year. Yarbrough took on the position in addition to his role as CSU police chief.

Penley simultaneously promoted Tony Frank, then-university provost and senior vice president, to provost and senior executive vice president and John Lincoln, the now-retired CSU vice president for Public Affairs, to executive vice president.

Penley offered his own resignation Nov. 5. The announcement came in the same week the BOG learned Penley had offered Lincoln, his number two, a contracted position with the university after the board had asked Penley to “get John Lincoln out of the university,” said BOG spokesperson Michele McKinney.

Frank, now interim CSU president, took the university helm following Penley’s resignation.

CSU has since done away with Lincoln’s former position, said Brad Bohlander, head university spokesperson.

News Managing Editor Elyse Jarvis can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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