Expressing interest in the role of CSU chancellor – a position which was officially created by the CSU System Board of Governors on Wednesday – former U.S. Senator Wayne Allard met with student government reps. Friday morning in a closed-door session.
Taylor Smoot, president of the Associated Students of CSU, said the former senator asked to meet with him to find out what students cared about.
Smoot, who called Allard “a great guy” who’d given much to CSU in his time and lobbying efforts in Denver, said it was a “big deal” to have a U.S. senator visit the student government president’s office for input.
Allard, a CSU alumnus who recently ended his 12-year tenure in Senate, called BOG chair Doug Jones soon after former CSU President Larry Penley’s Nov. 5 departure to express his interest in the then-only potential chancellor role.
“The board thinks it’s great that someone with (Allard’s) experience in public service is interested in serving a leadership role at CSU,” head BOG spokesperson Michele McKinney said at the end of last year.
Steve Wymer, a spokesperson for Allard, said the former senator would be best fit for a fundraising, legislative and figurehead position.
The board, which posted the chancellor’s official job description Wednesday, said it will seek out a chancellor with both a strong understanding of academic values and the culture of higher education and proven experience in operating in a political environment.
McKinney said preferential treatment would not be given to a candidate with a political background.
During his time in Senate, Allard faced backlash from his colleagues, with Time magazine going so far as to call the staunch Republican the “The Invisible Man” who “almost never plays a role in major legislation.”
Local advocacy group Progress Now made their opposition to the idea of Allard’s chancellorship public almost immediately after the former senator announced his interest, saying Allard’s top priority during his tenure was “interfering in other people’s privacy by pushing to amend the U.S. Constitution to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples.”
In November, Seth Walter, ASCSU director of legislative affairs, said he believes Allard would help CSU form positive relationships with the state legislature, who had “a little bit of a rocky relationship” with former CSU President Larry Penley.
Gov. Bill Ritter publicly disagreed with Penley’s attempt to add a last-minute revision to the Long Bill that would have increased student tuition by 43 percent.
“Someone with experience in politics would be able to conduct the position very efficiently,” Walters said.
Check back to Collegian.com for updates on the CSU chancellor search.
News Managing Editor Elyse Jarvis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.