Mar 082009
 
Authors: Sean Reed

And another one bites the dust.

On Friday, CSU Police Chief and Vice President of Public Safety Dexter Yarbrough resigned from his post, following an unspecified investigation that put him on paid administrative leave.

Now, nearly three months and $30,000 in paid salary to the chief later, the CSU community has no answers. And it doesn’t look like they can expect any anytime soon.

If this situation sounds familiar, that’s because a similar situation played out just a few months earlier.

On Nov. 5, former CSU President Larry Penley resigned from the university’s top-spot following increasing scrutiny from student leaders of his financial philosophy that favored administrative spending over academics.

Officially, he left to “pursue other leadership positions in higher education,” but given the events surrounding his departure, it’s fairly clear that something else was going on.

To say that circumstances were suspicious would be an understatement.

The announcement came just three days following an annual meeting of an evaluation committee that scrutinized his yearly performance. Of course, that, in and of itself doesn’t really mean much. But combine that with the fact that he was given a full year’s salary — $389,000 — to resign, and it’s pretty clear that he was forced out.

But then again, I suppose it is possible that the CSU System Board of Governors may just be exceptionally generous.

Fast forward to the present, and you’ve got the highest-paid law enforcement officer in the state of Colorado resigning following the conclusion of a “noncriminal” investigation that included a member of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that Yarbrough was out whether he wanted it or not. CSU was just kind enough to let him leave with his dignity, which is fine.

What isn’t fine, however, is that the veil of secrecy that has been CSU administration is still intact, even under new leadership.

Now, I do understand that there are rules restricting the release of sensitive information in personnel matters, but we’re talking about the chief of police. When you reach a certain level, your indiscretions, even on the job, become everybody’s business.

And based on allegations against the embattled ex-chief that are out in the open, the right of the CSU community to know exactly what is going on is even greater.

In January, the Collegian obtained tapes of some of the chief’s more outrageous classroom antics in which he advised students to save a little from drug busts to pay off informants and to lie should the informant in question overdose with those drugs and tell where he or she got them, among other things.

Yarbrough, in his defense, said he was taken out of context. I beg to differ.

In addition, there were allegations that one officer was asked by the chief to write an accident report to reflect a hit and run when the officer in question thought the accident was consistent with a collision with a blunt object. In short, the officer felt Yarbrough hit something and was trying to cover it up.

When the Collegian uncovered these allegations, they weren’t new news to the university. CSU spokesperson Brad Bohlander confirmed that the university heard the complaints but did not feel they warranted any further action by the university.

Given the outrageous nature of the initial allegations, one has to wonder how bad things had to get before the university felt it was appropriate to step in.

Based on the university’s track record, we’ll probably never know. But we really should.

The students and faculty deserve to know why our police chief was pushed out. Here’s to hoping the university can lift the iron curtain long enough to give us the information we deserve.

Editorials Editor Sean Reed is a senior political science major. His column appears Mondays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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