Sorority booted for hazing

 Greek Life  Comments Off on Sorority booted for hazing
Aug 272009
 
Adesuwa Elaiho

Adesuwa Elaiho

By J. David McSwane

A CSU sorority was quietly ousted from the university in the spring as a result of a campus police investigation that found numerous alleged incidents of hazing, harassment and cruelty that one whistle-blower victim called “torture.”

CSU’s Omicron Omicron chapter of Zeta Phi Beta, a nationally chartered black sorority, allegedly routinely harassed potential members, or pledges, depriving them of sleep and food for days at a time, forcing them to eat cat food and to perform “strenuous physical activity” that prompted one student to seek medical attention.

One student also said she was forced to write the sorority president’s academic papers, a violation of the school’s honor code and grounds for expulsion for both parties.

In a 54-page police incident report obtained by the Collegian Wednesday, a CSU Police Department detective over the course of several months unraveled a culture of abuse and fear under the leadership of former sorority President Adesuwa Elaiho.

The nutrition and food science major was also an active member of student government during the time of the allegations in February.

“She had us at her apartment for three days straight. No sleep, no food. I threw [up] because I was so hungry,” said one alleged victim in a statement to police.

CSUPD Detective Adam Smith wrote in his final report that “Elaiho committed hazing on several occasions,” which the university, the national Zeta Phi Beta sorority and the Pan-Hellenic council, the national council of sororities, strictly forbid.

But sorority member Green denied impropriety in her statement, saying, “I am so confused as to the origin (of the complaints) because no one was harmed.”

Smith deferred comment to media relations but in his report wrote:

“The physical activity included running, pushups, wall-sits and other strenuous calisthenics, and were clearly designed as initiation into the Zeta sorority … these events clearly caused risk of bodily injuries to the parties involved …” Smith wrote in his report.

No criminal charges

Ysaye Zamore

Ysaye Zamore

No criminal charges were filed against the four alleged hazers, Elaiho, 22; Antoinette Hill, 24; Erika Green, 21; Ysaye Zamore, 22; but the university took disciplinary action against the students through the Office of Conflict Resolution.

The hazing victims said the discipline included a mandated letter of apology from the sorority leaders, but some have still not received letters. The university has released no details of the actions taken against the individuals.

Linda Jensen, spokesperson for the Larimer County District Attorney’s office, confirmed Wednesday that the case was reviewed by DA Larry Abrahamson, but “based on a review of the evidence and because the university already took disciplinary action, we declined to file charges.”

Among the smallest sororities on the CSU campus, the Omicron Omicron chapter didn’t have a house, and was temporarily stripped of its charter April 10. The university officially severed ties with the sorority August 5.

Campus police officially closed the case Monday, but CSU officials gave no notice to the public about the incidents or the investigation.

When asked why the university community was not notified of the sorority’s dismissal, like the university did when former CSUPD Chief Dexter Yarbrough was suspended last year, university offcials cited an on-going investigation.

“The police report could not be finalized until just this morning pending the DA review,” Dell Rae Moellenberg, a CSU spokesperson, said Wednesday. “It was not appropriate to make the information

Erika Green

Erika Green

public before that review was completed.”

None of the subjects of the investigation returned phone messages left by the Collegian. All four women admitted to hazing in police statements, but denied that any pledges were ever harmed.

Three of the alleged victims corroborated the reports of severe hazing to the Collegian but declined further comment, expressing fear of retaliation.

“We’ve already been embarrassed enough by this,” one victim said.

Drugs and alcohol were not a factor in the expulsion of Zeta Phi Beta, Moellenberg said in an e-mail.

“The actions of the sorority were thoroughly investigated by the Colorado State University Police Department for potential criminal violations … A thorough investigation and student conduct review by the Division of Student Affairs, which includes Greek Life, was also conducted to determine if university policies were violated, and it was determined that the sorority was in violation of the university’s Code of Student Conduct,” the statement said.

The CSU code of conduct bars fraternities and sororities from in engaging in behavior that presents a risk of bodily harm.

‘They threw up inside their suits’

The investigation was sparked in February after one victim wrote to the school’s Greek Life office:

“I am really scared. Ysaye (Zamore) called all my line sisters, and they are gonna beat whoever ‘snitched.’ Please don’t tell … you just don’t understand. I am really scared. All the black Greeks will shun me if I come out … I just could not bare getting beat and eating all kinds of food.”

According to the report, pledges were forced to purchase and wear black jump suits while performing laborious tasks — namely during the “seven hours of hell” held at Elaiho’s apartment in which recruits were forced to run, eat animal food and perform boot-camp like training.

The physical conditioning included “Zeta TV,” a rigorous exercise where students were forced to horizontally support themselves with only one arm and their toes until they counted to 1,920, the year of the national sorority’s founding.

“… if anyone put their feet down, complained, rested, did not count, etc., we would have to start all over. Again, we all were so tired that we had to start over numerous times. NUMEROUS. By the end of the night one of the invited member’s shoulder blades, arms and wrists were swollen. She had to go to the hospital because it looked so bad,” one witness told CSUPD.

The CSUPD investigation found multiple claims of bodily harm resulting from the malicious hazing.

“As the night went on we had to drink kitty milk, since Zeta nick names are the cats. We ate so many onions by this time (student) and (student) threw up, and Ms. Hill told us if we were to throw up we would have to lick the vomit off the floor. So they threw up inside their suits,” one victim said in her statement to police.

Another witness said in her statement that the training caused one student, who undergoes dialysis because of kidney problems, to faint on more than one occasion, the report said.

And a different student wrote that the experience led her to seek a physician at the school clinic, where they treated her for high blood pressure.

In one testimony, a student said pledges were “beaten” with paddles, but the CSUPD investigation found no proof that sorority members hit potential recruits.

When asked what sort of inquiry was sought into the allegations of plagiarism — one student alleges that Elaiho forced her to complete her academic papers — Moellenberg said the university can not comment on a student’s academic record.

CSU will consider reinstatement of Zeta Phi Beta in the future, pending a review and verification that hazing will not occur, Moellenberg said.

Enterprise Editor J. David McSwane can be reached at tips@collegian.com.

CSUPD CHIEF RESIGNS

 Abuse of Power  Comments Off on CSUPD CHIEF RESIGNS
Mar 092009
 

By J. David McSwane

Suspended CSU Police Chief Dexter Yarbrough resigned late Friday afternoon, just days after being confronted with the findings of a nearly three-month-long investigation headed by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

Citing strict personnel guidelines, CSU Interim President Tony Frank hasn’t offered any details of the inquiry or its findings, but said that after meeting with Yarbrough last week, the two “mutually agreed” that the embattled chief should leave the university.

Former CSUPD Police Chief Dexter Yarbrough

Former CSUPD Police Chief Dexter Yarbrough

“Earlier this week Mr. Yarbrough and I met and reviewed all of the findings of the investigation as well as the overall status of the CSU Police Department,” Frank said in a press release. ” … Mr. Yarbrough and I agree that his resignation is in the best interest of the Colorado State University Police Department and the university.”

Yarbrough, who doubled as vice president for public safety and taught an undergraduate criminal investigations class, was placed on paid administrative leave Dec. 19, was stripped of his gun and police cruiser and was escorted off campus that day.

With a $156,000-a-year salary, Yarbrough was easily the highest paid police officer in the state.

During his 78-day paid suspension from all of his university capacities, the chief received his regular salary, grossing about $33,000 over that period.

The university has kept quiet on Yarbrough’s suspension and subsequent resignation. But separate complaints from officers and taped class lectures illustrate the former chief’s alleged history of employing questionable police tactics, fraud and harassment, a Collegian investigation found.

Late last month, CBI and CSU officials concluded their investigation, which sources say was prompted by issues separate from the Collegian report.

The findings of the investigation will remain sealed from the public, Frank said Friday.

“I think the frustrating part is that we’re trying to balance two things here,” he said. “The investigation is complete, but it’s part of the personnel file, and I’m not permitted to talk about it.”

But Karl Swenson, a former CSUPD lieutenant still working at CSU, says the university owes the public and the besmirched department answers.

“I guess that’s an inequitable way for the department to get rid of him and move on,” Swenson said, adding that he believes CSU officials swept the investigation’s findings under the rug.

“I think the department would probably be embarrassed, but CSU has a trust issue here. Parents are bringing their students here and trusting that they are going to be safe,” he said. “But CSU knew for years that that wasn’t the case, and they are fearful that that might come out.”

The entire campus police department needs to be reevaluated, Swenson added.

“It’s across the board — Is that traffic ticket that person received legitimate? … if ‘sometimes the police lie?’ … I think honesty is probably the best start.”

Former Police Chief Dexter Yarbrough did not return several calls and e-mails requesting comment.

‘Sometimes the police lie’

While the university has offered no explanation of Yarbrough’s resignation and the CBI probe, tapes of his classroom lectures obtained by the Collegian — tapes later reported on by other local media — raised questions about the former chief’s policing and teaching tactics.

Audio recordings of his class lecture turned into the school’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity and former CSU President Larry Penley last year demonstrate what many allege and describe as Yarbrough’s rogue and potentially illegal police activities.

In one classroom lecture in spring 2008, Yarbrough advised his students — including many aspiring police officers — to provide illicit drugs to informants as payment for information.

“We may decide to give the informant 10 of those (crack cocaine) rocks. OK,” Yarbrough said to his criminal investigations class, for which he is additionally compensated as an adjunct instructor.

In the recording, one student sought clarification on the chief’s advice, saying:

“So if a police officer gives an informant 10 rocks of crack, and they end up in the hospital, are they responsible for it at that point? … Because I could just say the police gave it to me?”

To the student’s question, Yarbrough responded:

“Let me tell you what I would do: You give it to them, but you let them know that, hey, if you get caught with this, you know, don’t say my name. Or if they get sick or something, I never gave them those (drugs).

“Didn’t I tell you guys that sometimes the police lie? Didn’t I tell you guys that? If I didn’t, there you go.”

Yarbrough denied allegations of impropriety.

“As typical of all my courses, I attempt to give students a realistic view on how policing works — both good and bad,” Yarbrough said in a statement. “During one particular class, I was illustrating how sometimes police officers cross the line in order to catch drug dealers. In no way was I condoning the behavior, I was simply illustrating it. I have taught at CSU for over four years, and I have provided the same information in a dramatic fashion.”

The tapes were recorded by Aaron Gropp, a 38-year-old graduate student and former Larimer County Sheriff’s deputy.

Gropp said he began recording lectures after what he called “asinine” and “wrong” statements from Yarbrough, and he brought them to OEOD, which promised an investigation.

But the university gave him “the runaround,” he said, and no public action was taken against the chief under Penley’s administration.

The university closed the investigation in the fall, but details and findings of that personnel inquiry are also sealed, said Brad Bohlander, CSU’s top spokesperson.

Moving on

Frank said with Yarbrough’s departure, he will axe the position of vice president of public safety, as another administrative budget cut to combat the ailing economy, but also to have that role report directly to the president so that the new chief can focus solely on the CSUPD.

Multiple previous administrative-level officials — including Penley who abruptly resigned last semester — received substantial departing bonuses when they left the school.

But Yarbrough has signed no separation agreement with the university, nor did he receive any financial incentives to leave, Frank said, though he will receive the standard 24 days of paid vacation.

Frank, whose early tenure is marked by promises for more transparency in the wake of Penley’s contentious departure, defended the length of the investigation, saying, “The reason the investigation took as long as it did is we wanted to be thorough and complete.”

Interim CSUPD Chief Frank Johnson, who served under Yarbrough as assistant chief, will maintain that post while the university plans to begin a national search for a permanent replacement.

Enterprise Editor J. David McSwane can be reached at tips@collegian.com.

Embattled chief faces CBI probe

 Abuse of Power  Comments Off on Embattled chief faces CBI probe
Jan 232009
 

By J. David McSwane

Suspended CSU Police Chief Dexter Yarbrough appeared before a three-person investigative committee at Fort Collins Police headquarters Thursday afternoon to hear numerous complaints against him and to provide his own testimony, sources close to the investigation said.

Yarbrough was suddenly put on paid administrative leave and escorted off campus Dec. 19 and was stripped of his firearm and cruiser. In addition to his duties as chief, he was promoted last year to vice president of Public Safety where he collects a $156,000-a-year salary.

yarbrough_cbi

Media Credit: Brandon Iwamoto Suspended CSU Police Chief Dexter Yarbrough walks from the parking lot to the Fort Collins Police Department at 2221 Timberline Rd. on Thursday afternoon.

The embattled chief attended the closed-door meeting at 2 p.m., sources said, but when reporters on scene asked why he was there, he said, “just visiting.”

Citing state personnel laws, university officials haven’t released details on the inquiry headed by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation or unrelated allegations against the chief of fraud, harassment and delivering several questionable and alarming class lectures.

In taped classroom lectures, which were picked up by Denver media outlets after a Collegian report, Yarbrough advised students in a criminal investigations class to provide illicit drugs as payment to informants, to cut corners in police work and condoned the use of excessive force against suspects.

Aaron Gropp, the 38-year-old graduate student and formerLarimer County Sheriff’s Deputy who recorded the lectures, said he’s weighing the possibility of filing a lawsuit against CSU or Yarbrough for the chief’s recent statements to reporters.

“The student that is providing the tapes was not doing very well in my class and has taken my lecture out of context in an attempt to retaliate against me,” Yarbrough said in an e-mail.

Gropp said he plans to talk with an attorney to see if the statement was in violation of The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which bars public schools and its administrators from commenting on or releasing a student’s academic records.

“After everything I’ve been through, I would love to sue CSU at this point,” Gropp said.

Gropp, a former police officer, maintains he did not take the chief’s statements out of context and that when he brought the alarming evidence to CSU administration he was given “the runaround.”

Brad Bohlander, CSU’s top spokesperson confirmed the university investigated Gropp’s complaint and concluded its investigation in the fall but declined further comment because of FERPA. No public action was taken against the chief after the investigation.

“We may decide to give the informant 10 of those (crack cocaine) rocks. OK,” Yarbrough said in one tape.

In the recording, one student sought clarification on the chief’s advice, saying:

“So if a police officer gives an informant 10 rocks of crack, and they end up in the hospital, are they responsible for it at that point? … Because I could just say the police gave it to me?”

To the student’s question, Yarbrough responded: “Let me tell you what I would do: You give it to them, but you let them know that, hey, if you get caught with this, you know, don’t say my name. Or if they get sick or something, I never gave them those (drugs). “Didn’t I tell you guys that sometimes the police lie? Didn’t I tell you guys that? If I didn’t, there you go.”

But Yarbrough says the tapes have been blown out of proportion.

“As typical of all my courses, I attempt to give students a realistic view on how policing works – both good and bad,” Yarbrough said in a statement. “During one particular class, I was illustrating how sometimes police officers cross the line in order to catch drug dealers. In no way was I condoning the behavior, I was simply illustrating it. I have taught at CSU for over four years, and I have provided the same information in a dramatic fashion.”

Enterprise Editor J. David McSwane can be reached at tips@collegian.com.

Suspended chief refutes allegations

 Abuse of Power  Comments Off on Suspended chief refutes allegations
Jan 222009
 

By J. David McSwane

Suspended CSU Police Chief Dexter Yarbrough refutes that he delivered several questionable and alarming lectures Wednesday and lashed back at the student who recorded his statements, which were detailed in this newspaper on Tuesday.

Yarbrough – the highest paid police chief in the state at $156,000 a year – was suddenly put on paid administrative leave Dec. 19 for separate, apparently unrelated allegations, school officials said.

Citing strict personnel laws, details about the suspension and an ongoing inquiry headed by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation haven’t been divulged.

In the audio, which was picked up by Denver media outlets after a Collegian report, Yarbrough advised students in a classroom to provide illicit drugs as payment to informants, to cut corners in police work and condoned the use of excessive force against suspects.

“We may decide to give the informant 10 of those (crack cocaine) rocks. OK,” Yarbrough said to his criminal investigations class, for which he is additionally compensated as an adjunct instructor.

In the recording, one student sought clarification on the chief’s advice, saying:

“So if a police officer gives an informant 10 rocks of crack, and they end up in the hospital, are they responsible for it at that point? … Because I could just say the police gave it to me?”

To the student’s question, Yarbrough responded: “Let me tell you what I would do: You give it to them, but you let them know that, hey, if you get caught with this, you know, don’t say my name. Or if they get sick or something, I never gave them those (drugs). “Didn’t I tell you guys that sometimes the police lie? Didn’t I tell you guys that? If I didn’t, there you go.”

But the audio – snippets totaling about 28 minutes in length – was taken out of context, Yarbrough says. The Collegian was not provided and has not reviewed the full recordings from the class lectures in question.

“As typical of all my courses, I attempt to give students a realistic view on how policing works – both good and bad,” Yarbrough said in a statement. “During one particular class, I was illustrating how sometimes police officers cross the line in order to catch drug dealers. In no way was I condoning the behavior, I was simply illustrating it. I have taught at CSU for over 4 [four] years, and I have provided the same information in a dramatic fashion.”

Yarbrough, along with nine other professors on campus, won the Best Teacher of the Year Award in 2007, and in anonymous and unofficial evaluations the CSU teacher evaluation site, RamRatings.com, received top scores.

But Aaron Gropp, the 38-year-old graduate student and former Larimer County Sheriff’s Deputy who recorded the lectures, said he began recording the lectures after the chief told student in the class, “Women want the dick, even when they say ‘no.’ They want the dick.”

In response to allegations of sexist comments in the classroom, Yarbrough said: “In no way was I purposely being sexist towards women. I was simply illustrating points in the class. I have always been a big supporter of women, as well as diversity, inside and outside the classroom.”

But Yarbrough accused Gropp of purposefully taking the statements out of context to “retaliate” because the student wasn’t happy with his grade.

Gropp, who received an incomplete for the course, maintains that the audio was not taken out of context.

“What a liar,” he said simply Wednesday night.

Yarbrough defended his teaching style and declined to comment further about several allegations against him from officers under his command.

“I won Best Teacher of Year in 2007,” Yarbrough said. “I don’t do that (by condoning) illegal behavior.”

CORRECTION:
In Tuesday’s Collegian, an article titled “Abuse of Power” implied that CSUPD Sgt. Edward Bozic changed or replaced a filed police report in which Chief Dexter Yarbrough’s cruiser had sustained damage. After interviews with Bozic, other police officers and a review of the incident reports, the Collegian has found this to be incorrect. Yarbrough ordered Bozic to file an accidental damage report. When Bozic inspected the damage, however, he determined that the report should be filed as a traffic accident report in which the chief was believed to be responsible for the damage. When Bozic approached Yarbrough, he said, the chief was displeased with the findings and ordered him to file it differently. “I did not file an accidental damage report,” Bozic said Wednesday. “I didn’t do anything the chief wanted me to do. I was actually the one who blew the whistle on this.” Bozic filed one report, a “hit and run” report still available in CSUPD records, the Collegian confirmed. Swenson filed a later report charging the chief with being responsible for the accident, concluding that the cruiser had struck a rock or curb. That report was separate from Bozic’s on Tuesday. The Collegian regrets the error.

Enterprise Editor J. David McSwane can be reached at tips@collegian.com.

ABUSE OF POWER Tapes, officers say Yarbrough used questionable tactics

 Abuse of Power  Comments Off on ABUSE OF POWER Tapes, officers say Yarbrough used questionable tactics
Jan 202009
 
Former CSUPD Police Chief Dexter Yarbrough

Former CSUPD Police Chief Dexter Yarbrough

By J. David McSwane

While the sudden suspension of CSU Police Chief Dexter Yarbrough last month came as another shocking challenge facing a transitioning administration, several campus officers say his absence comes as a breath of fresh air to the department — putting what several independent sources called his “reign of terror” on hiatus.

Listing numerous accusations of improprieties ranging from falsifying police documents, to mandating the special treatment of student athletes, to teaching students illegal police tactics, several timid police officers say the President’s Office had plenty of alarming evidence to take action long ago but turned a blind eye to a handful of alleged abuses of power.

Barred by state personnel law, the university hasn’t released any information about Yarbrough’s paid administrative leave and an ongoing investigation headed by Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

But evidence delivered to top administration and later obtained by the Collegian shows CSU kept many of the chief’s questionable dealings quiet for years.

Despite a consistent flow of complaints of harassment, fraud and threatening behavior to the school’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity (OEOD) and to former CSU President Larry Penley, Yarbrough was promoted last year to vice president of public safety in addition to being chief of police.

He was handsomely rewarded with a $156,000-a-year salary, easily making him the highest paid law enforcement officer in the state.

Both the university and sources close to the investigation confirmed that the inquiry stemmed from “fresh” complaints from within CSUPD.

However, Yarbrough’s history of alleged misbehavior and questionable treatment of officers and students called him to answer to OEOD and the district attorney throughout his tenure.

Crack, sex and violence

Audio recordings of his class lecture turned into OEOD and Penley last year demonstrate what many allege and describe as the chief’s rogue and potentially illegal police tactics.

In one classroom lecture in spring 2008, Yarbrough advised his students — including many aspiring police officers — to provide illicit drugs to informants as payment for information.

“We may decide to give the informant 10 of those (crack cocaine) rocks. OK,” Yarbrough said to his criminal investigations class, for which he is additionally compensated as an adjunct instructor.

In the recording, one student sought clarification on the chief’s advice, saying:

“So if a police officer gives an informant 10 rocks of crack, and they end up in the hospital, are they responsible for it at that point? … Because I could just say the police gave it to me?”

To the student’s question, Yarbrough responded:

“Let me tell you what I would do: You give it to them, but you let them know that, hey, if you get caught with this, you know, don’t say my name. Or if they get sick or something, I never gave them those (drugs).

Click to see PDF

Click to see PDF

“Didn’t I tell you guys that sometimes the police lie? Didn’t I tell you guys that? If I didn’t, there you go.”

In another recording, Yarbrough alluded that sometimes police should cut corners because “if you want the police to play fair, the police can play fair. OK. But watch out when you go out at night, and watch your crime rates go up. The police can play fair. Do you really want the police to do that?”

In a later lecture, the chief, who was a Chicago policeman prior to entering academia, said sometimes excessive and violent force against a suspect is a “reality of law enforcement.”

“If there’s a news conference going on, I can’t get in front of a crowd and say. ‘He got exactly what the f*** he deserved.’ You know the police should have beat him, you know. I used to beat ass when I was in Chicago, too. I can’t say that.

“I’d have to say, ‘Well, you know we’re going to have to look into this matter seriously … all of our officers, we like to think that they operate with the utmost integrity and ethics … All of that sh** sounds good. That sh** sounds real good, but in the back of my mind, damn. He got popped. If he would have done it the way we used to do it in Chi town (Chicago), man, none of this sh** would have happened.”

Larimer County District Attorney Larry Abrahamson says providing drugs to informants is never acceptable, regardless of the outcome for a police investigation.

“I would certainly look at it in this jurisdiction very suspiciously,” Abrahamson said. “There is no legal defense for that transaction, and I know that our local law enforcement does not condone that sort of activity.”

The tapes were recorded by Aaron Gropp, a 38-year-old graduate student and former Larimer County Sheriff’s deputy. Gropp said he began recording lectures after what he called “asinine” and “wrong” statements from Yarbrough, including what he thought to be sexual harassment and possible admission of criminal culpability.

“He constantly said things that were illegal,” Gropp said. “… I was flabbergasted. He just completely dissolved and undermined the credibility of every officer at CSU.”

The lecture that inspired him to gather recordings, Gropp said, was one in which he says Yarbrough told the class “women want the dick, even when they say ‘no.’ They want the dick.”

“In my book he just kind of condoned rape,” Gropp said. “I was just floored … that was when I decided to start recording things and file a complaint.”

Gropp brought his collection of recorded lectures along with complaints from other students in the class to OEOD, but no public action was taken against Yarbrough.

The university, Gropp said, gave him “the run around,” and he stopped attending class after Yarbrough was informed of the inquiry, which the university closed in the fall.

The university has offered Gropp an alternative assignment to complete the course.

Citing a personnel investigation in cooperation with the CBI, CSU officials haven’t provided details as to why the chief was suspended indefinitely Dec. 19 and escorted out of his department while students were away on break.

A top university spokesperson confirmed that the current investigation is not related to the student’s tapes or other previous allegations.

“All of the findings and results, including any potential actions taken by the previous university administration in response to the findings of that investigation, are closed per state statute,” said spokesman Brad Bohlander in an e-mail.

Dissension in the ranks

Officers interviewed credited the chief for robustly increasing the department’s budget, allowing for much-needed equipment like new cruisers and rifles but said they weren’t surprised by Yarbrough’s in-class comments.

“He says things in that class that ex-cons don’t even write about,” said one officer who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid potential backlash from Yarbrough and CSU. “Yarbrough made us look bad. The reason no one came forward was Yarbrough would punish you — visibly.”

Since his arrival in September 2003, Yarbrough quickly established a culture of oppression, fear and intimidation within his ranks and drove out anyone who challenged him, sources said.

Lt. Karl Swenson, a campus bomb expert and former CSUPD officer, was one of those people who crossed the chief.

When Yarbrough’s police cruiser sustained damage to its front end in March of 2005, he asked Swenson and another officer, Sgt. Edward Bozic, to file a report as a hit and run, police reports and e-mails indicate.

But upon inspection of the damage, Swenson, a trained accident reconstructionist for the department, determined that the damage was consistent with the operator of the vehicle hitting a curb or rock — a structure very similar to a scuffed rock just outside Clark A where Yarbrough parked to teach his class.

After looking into the matter, Swenson wrote his police report — that Yarbrough had hit something and was not the victim of a hit and run — and approached the chief about the incident, but the chief told him not to investigate any further.

Yarbrough then ordered Bozic to write a separate report, which was filed in lieu of Swenson’s report, sources say.

“The chief ordered Bozic to change it until it fit,” one officer said. “That screams of corruption. We don’t even have internal investigations … in those incidents, (Yarbrough) had so much power over his subordinates … he could do whatever he wanted, and the President’s Office wouldn’t listen, and the vice president wouldn’t listen.”

But Swenson kept a copy of the original report and took it along with a summation, photos and an e-mail exchange to DA Abrahamson’s office, where it was swiftly evaluated and thrown out.

“We reviewed the report, looked at it and determined at that time that it wasn’t something that was necessarily criminal in nature,” Abrahamson said. “I know Karl was concerned that we look at it. There were allegations that the report was falsified.”

Sources say Yarbrough then systematically drove Swenson out of the department by eliminating his duties and, at one point, attempting to turn his office into a storage closet before ultimately banning him from the building.

“He’s run off damn near everybody who was in the organization when he arrived,” said another officer who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

In another instance, an officer making a routine arrest from a bank of active warrants was publicly reprimanded for arresting a student athlete without first discussing it with the chief, sources said. The chief took over the investigation and changed policy to provide special treatment for student athletes.

After the incident, officers pursuing warrants must first call dispatch to ask if the student’s name is listed on the roster, which Yarbrough ordered to be kept in dispatch, sources say.

Bohlander said CSU in no way condones the special treatment of student athletes and declined further comment on the allegations.

In a separate issue, an officer who filed a complaint with the university against CSUPD received a settlement and was relocated to another department, according to a seven-page settlement obtained through Colorado’s open records laws.

Cpl. Veronica Olivas agreed to a settlement in January of 2008 to not pursue legal action against CSU and, specifically, Assistant Chief Frank Johnson. Olivas signed a confidentiality agreement, barring Johnson and her from commenting on the issue. Olivas relocated to Housing, where the university agreed to pay her a salary of $66,000.

‘The wicked witch is dead’

In addition to the five or so complaints to the university, sources said, Yarbrough routinely exercised autonomous and discomforting rule of the flow of information to the media and commandeered CSUPD facilities.

By the time of his suspension, the chief utilized three separate offices, two of which were the former resources library — filled with criminal procedure and law books — and the conference room.

Yarbrough’s eventual acquisition of the conference room was never justified to the staff and left officers with only holding cells and interrogations rooms to interview victims of crime, sources said.

“The sun rose on the police department that was free from intimidation, manipulation and corruption,” one officer said of the news that Yarbrough was suspended. “This isn’t an agency that does this — it’s a man.”

Another officer, weeks prior to the announcement of Yarbrough’s suspension told the Collegian, “I feel like I’m working for a criminal. People are afraid. What he is and what the officers are is two different things.”

Once using phrases like “reign of terror” and “juvenile” to describe the CSUPD work environment, that officer now says, “The wicked witch is dead.”

An officer close to the current investigation says of the complaints being reviewed:

“Everything that led up to his suspension was done quietly, secretly and in about the course of four to six weeks. All the new information was enough to get him suspended.”

University officials say CBI’s involvement in the investigation reflects a desire to have an objective look into the personnel complaints, but the officer also said the school requested the bureau’s assistance when it was clear that the “possibility of criminal culpability was there.”

The investigation committee, which includes OEOD Director Dana Hiatt, delivered an official copy of complaints to Yarbrough Monday, officers questioned by the committee said.

Interim President Tony Frank, who suspended Yarbrough after only a short time at the CSU helm, has promised a speedy investigation but declined further comment, citing an ongoing personnel investigation.

A report in the Maroon, the University of Chicago’s student newspaper, indicated that Yarbrough might have applied for a similar post there. The article has since been removed from the paper’s Web site. Reporters there have not returned calls from the Collegian.

Yarbrough did not return calls and e-mails from the Collegian over three weeks time.

Bozic and Penley did not return calls made by the Collegian.

This story originally printed in The Rocky Mountain Collegian on Jan. 20, 2009.

PENLEY RESIGNS Provost acquires CSU helm

 CSU Administration  Comments Off on PENLEY RESIGNS Provost acquires CSU helm
Nov 062008
 

101608_penleyucaBy Aaron Hedge and J. David McSwane

In a shocking mid-semester announcement, CSU President Larry Penley resigned Wednesday night, ending a five-year tenure underscored by his CEO approach to leadership and squabbles with students, faculty and state officials.

“I believe that my leadership has contributed to significant progress for Colorado State University,” Penley said in a statement. “But I want to be free to pursue other leadership positions in higher education. This resignation will allow me the flexibility to do so.”

In a closed-door meeting between presidential cabinet members and the council of deans, Tony Frank, senior executive vice president and provost, announced that he is taking over as interim president effective immediately.

“The important things right now are to focus on smooth continuity of transition for the university,” said Frank, who has worked at the university for more than 15 years. “President Penley has served this institution very well.”

“He leaves the university in an excellent position,” he added. “All of (the) fundamentals are very, very sound, and the president deserves a great deal of thanks for that.”

Penley is currently taking vacation leave and will officially vacate his post Nov. 30, Frank said.

The president and chancellor’s abrupt departure comes two days after an evaluation committee, consisting of voting members of the CSU System Board of Governors, met with Penley as part of an annual evaluation.

And late last month, John Lincoln, Penley’s No. 2 as executive vice president, also announced his resignation.

Outside his house in south Fort Collins Wednesday night, Penley declined to comment about his departure, saying: “Sorry, I don’t have anything to say.”

Blanche Hughes, vice president for Student Affairs, said Penley’s resignation came as a surprise to the administration but declined further comment.

Frank learned of the news earlier Wednesday, he said, and accepted the BOG’s proposition that he temporarily lead the university.

The BOG should begin searching for a new president sometime in the near future, Frank said, and although it’s “very early” to say, he could be a candidate for the position.

Doug Jones, the chair of the BOG, said Frank is a top contender for the job.

“Tony Frank knows this campus as well as anyone,” he said. “We will not miss a beat.”

Richard Eykholt, chair of CSU’s faculty council, echoed Jones’ statement, expressing confidence in Frank’s ability to take over the helm of the state’s second largest university.

“(The faculty) has complete confidence in Tony to continue to move the university forward. We’re very optimistic in how we’re going to proceed,” Eykholt said.

Taylor Smoot, president of the Associated Students of CSU, said when it comes to communication between the president’s office and students, CSU was “a laughing stock” compared to other schools. He said under Frank’s leadership, students will have more say in the university’s business practices.

“Tony Frank is the best person for this position,” he said. “He shows up. He’s the man.”

Penley’s final semester

In his time at CSU, Penley drastically overhauled top-level administration, adding more than a dozen VP-level spots with hefty budgets and salaries while the academic colleges and library saw a much smaller growth in financial support.

During that time, several key financial overseers left the university — three on the same day — accepted large financial incentives and signed confidentiality agreements, an eight-month-long Collegian investigation found.

And just weeks before his resignation, top student government officials formed an official financial oversight committee to evaluate Penley’s fiscal management of the university.

The group promises to present their investigation’s findings to state legislators who have called for more transparency in the university’s financial reporting.

Recently re-elected State Rep. John Kefalas, D-Fort Collins, said in an interview earlier this semester that, overall, he was pleased with Penley’s leadership of the university but stressed that students and taxpayers should know more about how the university is using tuition and tax dollars.

A tumultuous presidency

In an interview earlier this year, Frank likened Penley to a chief executive officer of a major company, citing the need for aggressive fundraising efforts for public universities as state funding continues to fall short.

And if Penley was the CEO, Frank would be the chief financial officer — the guy who lost his job if something went wrong, Frank joked.

From the perspective that the university is a product and students are consumers, Penley led the school like a business — beefing up marketing, initiating the branded “Superclusters” initiatives, rubbing elbows with potential donors and sponsors from across the country and, recently, pushing to establish CSU as “the green university.”

While Penley’s tactics were lauded by many — as under his leadership the CSU budget and research expenditures increased substantially — some were opposed to the president’s financial philosophy and direction for the university.

Throughout his tenure, CSU faculty members criticized the president as focusing too much on saturating administrative budgets and competing for research grants, which are restricted funds and usually can’t be spent outside that specific research project.

Citing a lack of communication with the CSU community, student government officials and faculty members questioned Penley and his administration.

John Straayer, a long-time university political science professor, has publicly criticized the administration and has charged Penley with neglecting the instructional side of the university.

“I don’t think it comes out in the wash,” Straayer said earlier this semester. “As the burden has been shifting more and more on students, large chunks of that money aren’t going to the instructional side … I think that’s questionable.”

“Where is the academic core of this place?” he added.

During Penley’s time at CSU, he launched an award-winning national advertising campaign, increased freshman enrollment by record numbers every year since 2004 and brought an additional $200 million to the CSU budget.

Inaugurated in 2004, Penley brought an all-business approach to leading CSU and emphasized the importance of establishing new revenue streams as Colorado was falling to the bottom of the barrel for funding in higher education.

Penley established himself shortly after arriving at CSU’s helm as an active champion of the university’s technology transfer programs, which bring university research findings to the market, coining them “Superclusters” and actively campaigning on a national level to bring visibility to them.

But bringing more light to the research entities comes with a heavy price tag.

Last year alone, CSU spent $303 million on research initiatives, with a substantial amount — $45 million — of that money coming from the university general fund, which is essentially a bucket of money that primarily comes from sharply increasing tuition and fees.

At the same time, Penley significantly shored up the guts of CSU administration by funneling millions of dollars that could have gone to academics into vice presidential and other top-level budgets.

And the trend of ongoing administrative top-loading and heavy spending on research has been highlighted by highly-publicized controversy as Penley engaged in public battles with students, faculty and state lawmakers.

In 2007, student leaders cried foul as Penley introduced a last-minute clause into the Long Bill, which dictates university budgets, that would have effectively increased tuition at CSU by more than 40 percent.

Student leaders organized on campus and at the Capitol in opposition to Penley’s last-minute amendment to the document. And the revision was consequently killed in the state legislature.

In the wake of the Long Bill controversy, Penley and Gov. Bill Ritter publicly clashed about how to address funding shortages for the school — tuition hikes being the last resort according to Ritter. Penley accused Ritter and other state lawmakers of striking down CSU’s ability to fund itself in Colorado’s tight fiscal situation.

What’s next for CSU?

Frank said while the university awaits a new president to take over, it’s business as usual.

“I think if we all do our jobs right, and I’m confident that we will, it should not have much of an impact,” Frank said. “No one person makes the institution run the way it does. It runs because of the hard work and effort of (everybody).”

News Managing Editor Aaron Hedge and Enterprise Editor J. David McSwane can be reached at tips@collegian.com.

A hefty investment, research draw visibility, critics

 CSU Administration  Comments Off on A hefty investment, research draw visibility, critics
Sep 232008
 

By Aaron Hedge and J. David McSwane

As Colorado ranks dead last in funding for higher education, and after public disagreements with Gov. Bill Ritter and legislators on how to best increase the school’s budget, CSU President Larry Penley has turned to marketing the university as a world-class research institute to bring money — and attention — to the school.

And as the push continues, CSU’s research expenditures surpass that of peer institutions by 27 percent — a notable accomplishment considering three years ago the university was at the bottom of the list. But CSU now falls about 6 percent behind in instructional spending, according to university officials.

Expensive TV commercials, magazine ads and billboards brand the university as leading the way in environmental problem-solving, and Penley looks to feature articles in Newsweek, the Wall Street Journal and other major media outlets as evidence of CSU’s prominence. And the highly marketed Superclusters are at the crux of the school’s newfound notoriety.

The Superclusters concept, intensely focused categories for research on key subjects like cancer and infectious disease, were adopted in 2006 with the help of a $900,000 gift from the CSU Board of Governors reserve fund and were established as a university priority the next year when the Board approved $2 million for the concepts from the school’s budget.

Superclusters are promoted as bringing valuable research to the market to challenge global issues like sustainability and clean energy while kicking back royalties for patents to the school, sometimes resulting in start-up companies like MicroRx, which works to commercialize results from the Infectious Disease Supercluster.

But a report of royalties received over the last 10 years from technology transfer initiatives like Superclusters shows the university has only seen about $9.4 million in returns — a figure dwarfed by the billions of dollars poured into research projects.

Tony Frank, provost and executive vice president, said the return on innovations from research is expected to increase over time but said royalties are only an ancillary benefit of the research.

“When we invest in technology transfer, if your only point is to make money, you’re doomed,” Frank said.

As to the effectiveness of programs like Superclusters, Jim Hearn, a higher education finance expert with the Institute of Higher Education in Georgia, said it’s a gamble, adding that universities typically sell off start-up companies instead of “enduring a long wait for profitability.”

“It is difficult to profit from these kinds of investments,” he said.

“… For every great success, there appear to be corresponding stories of disappointment. There are no guarantees in that business.”

John Straayer, a CSU political science professor, said that while research spending has its benefits, “It can’t do a whole lot for the instructional side … even if you bring in research dollars in the train loads.”

“Basically what you’re doing is using students’ money as venture capital,” Straayer said.

“For millions of years, the market has pushed good ideas to the market. Why are you spending millions of dollars of students’ money?”

Frank, who researched and introduced the Superclusters concept to the president, admits the research being conducted under the Superclusters model isn’t dissimilar from lofty research projects that were already being conducted at CSU.

But the branded models, he said, help bring in grants for those specific research areas.

“We tried to put our bets on areas that not only benefit (CSU), but also bring a return to the university — those with the greatest chance of being profitable,” he said, adding that a majority of the university’s general fund investment is a reflection of grant-matching contracts with research financiers.

But Straayer is critical of the Superclusters concept, saying the research already existed and that the concepts are just “very expensive public relations.”

Research dollars, whether they fall under Superclusters or not, are a benefit for students and faculty working on the project, Frank said.

And peripherally, the rising research expenditures increase the school’s visibility, he said.

Adding that the focus on research can “ultimately be a losing game for some institutions,” Hearn, the finance expert from the Institute of Higher Education, echoed a similar statement.

“Done right, research work on campuses does benefit students,” he said.

“Faculty learn more to inform their teaching, students become involved in the research process, revenues are used to provide superior learning experiences in labs, etc.”

News Managing Editor Aaron Hedge and Enterprise Editor J. David McSwane can be reached at tips@collegian.com.

Tuition, state dollars diverted to research As CSU beefs up research efforts and marketing, burden falls on struggling students, colleges

 CSU Administration  Comments Off on Tuition, state dollars diverted to research As CSU beefs up research efforts and marketing, burden falls on struggling students, colleges
Sep 232008
 

By Aaron Hedge and J. David McSwane

As CSU President Larry Penley continues to aggressively market and fundraise for research projects — catapulted by the new “Green University” campaign — university expenditure reports show the criticized efforts are pulling money from financially starved academic colleges.

The increased focus on competing for research dollars in the last five years, namely for the branded “Supercluster” technology transfer concepts, is costing students and the state more money each year, a Collegian investigation found.

Each year since Penley’s arrival in 2003, the university has increasingly pulled millions of dollars from institutional funds for research, leaving less for academic colleges and the library, which are for the first time in the school’s history, drawing less financial support than administration, according to annual university budget reports.

University officials defend the investment of student and taxpayer dollars on research as fulfilling the mission of a 21st century land grant research institution to bring new research to the state, and they say the research improves the value of a CSU degree.

“There are plenty of non-research universities students can go to, but the value of a degree comes from the reputation of the institution, which comes from research,” said Tony Frank, the provost and senior executive vice president. ” … It’s why we exist,” he said.

In his fall address, Penley boasted a record-breaking $303 million in research expenditures for fiscal year 2008. But for every dollar of sponsored research, the university spent 15 cents — about $45 million total — in institutional funds from what’s commonly referred to as the “general fund,” an aggregate account of primarily tuition dollars, state dollars and other less significant revenue streams like private donations.

At the same time, resident undergraduate tuition has increased 52 percent — from $2,907.90 in 2003 to $4,424 today — since Penley’s arrival, and undergraduate student fees have climbed by more than 73 percent, from $836.40 in 2003 to $1449.56 today.

Frank says the investment of student’s dollars in research, which institutional reports show has a negligible monetary return, is controversial among some faculty circles. While he says it’s a wise investment, he said the money could instead be funneled into instruction.

“You’ve got limited resources at CSU,” he said. “There’s research out there that argues you could invest that money somewhere else. And that’s a very legitimate question.”

And as the push continues, CSU’s research expenditures surpass that of peer institutions by 27 percent, up from three years ago when the university was at the bottom of the list of peer institutions. But conversely, CSU falls about 6 percent behind in instructional spending, according to university officials.

And critics of the research campaign say student’s money should go to fund the academic colleges to bring that number up.

“The money that funds this stuff comes out of the general fund,” said John Straayer, a CSU political science professor. “As the burden has been shifting more and more on the students, large chunks of that money aren’t going to the instructional side. I think that’s questionable.”

Despite drastically increased student fees, tuition costs climbing at three times the rate of inflation and state funding falling $832 million behind other states, the president promises to spend more time on the road vying for research grants, which aren’t alleviating the university’s dire financial woes.

Money granted to the university for research can’t legally be used for other university needs — tenure faculty promotion, construction, financial aid, anything that doesn’t apply to the specific research project or associated overhead costs — and is focused almost exclusively on the sciences.

And as the university consistently breaks records each year in overall research expenditures, the amount taken from the general fund also increases, annual CSU expenditure reports show.

Expenditures from sponsored research, mostly from the federal government, have risen 53 percent since 2002, and research spending from the general fund has climbed at 50 percent, according to the expenditure reports.

In total, CSU has spent $246 million from institutional funds for research since 2002, according to university records.

Jim Hearn, a higher education finance expert with the Institute of Higher Education in Georgia, said Penley’s focus on research is common among public university presidents who struggle to offset dwindling state funds, but he said the efforts have mixed returns.

“Sometimes, leaders have to trade off certain goals to pursue others,” he said in an e-mail interview. “A president becoming heavily involved in pursuing research funding might be exactly the wrong choice in one institution, but quite appropriate in another.”

As Penley charges the institution with becoming carbon-neutral by 2020 as part of the internationally recognized “green university” campaign, the funneling of tuition and state dollars into research and away from other areas is likely to increase, according to the trend seen in expenditure reports over the last five years.

Frank defended the increased focus on research, saying it provides more opportunities for faculty to conduct research and for students to be involved. But the expenditures have no short-term positive impact on most undergraduate and graduate students, especially those in non-research majors like the liberal arts.

Straayer charges Penley with not prioritizing the academic mission of the school and paints the increased focus on research spending as “very expensive public relations” that can’t benefit the instructional side “even if we bring it in by the train loads.”

“I don’t think that, in the long-run, you serve the students, and ultimately the state, to raise money that can’t be used on instruction,” said Straayer, currently in his 41st year of teaching at CSU.

Straayer, an expert in state and local governments, said Penley and his administration should spend less time marketing and fundraising for research grants and more time at the Capitol, working to fix the way the state funds CSU.

“Is he going to go out and raise money for tuition relief?” he said. “I would say that the number one priority of any president in this state is to work cooperatively with each other, the governor and the legislature.”

Frank said the university has not backed off efforts at the Capitol and alluded to an official university campaign for financing reform in the future. He didn’t provide details about the campaign because it’s “in the silent stage,” he said.

While state lawmakers laude Penley’s efforts to aggressively pursue research funding, they cite questions of transparency as the president spends large amounts of time on the road talking to investors and neglecting what they said are Penley’s duties to candidly disclose the direction of fundraising efforts to them.

“I think the university should be talking to the legislators more and the media more,” said Sen. Steve Johnson (R – Larimer County), who sits on the Joint Budget Committee, a six-person board charged with setting the state’s budget and allocating state funds to CSU. “We’d like to be included more, so we can tell people how their tax dollars are being spent.”

Considering what he called a “flawed system” for funding higher education at the state level, Rep. John Kefalas (D – Fort Collins) applauded Penley’s efforts to focus on research, which he said can be a wise investment.

But he said he plans to meet face-to-face with Penley and other administrators to ensure tuition dollars are focused on instruction.

“Academic instruction is the highest priority,” he said. “… For me, the bottom line is that we don’t put all of this on the backs of students. … We need to make sure we’re good stewards of those dollars.”

In addition to meeting with administration, Kefalas said he plans to talk with student government and Faculty Council to discuss the school’s budget.

“I think that research is part of academics, but the question is: Where is all this money coming from, and how is it used?” he said. “I’d want to make sure CSU is demonstrating the highest level of transparency on how these decisions are being made.”

News Managing Editor Aaron Hedge and Enterprise Editor J. David McSwane can be reached at tips@collegian.com.

Penley to delegate authority, focus on fundraising

 CSU Administration  Comments Off on Penley to delegate authority, focus on fundraising
Sep 092008
 

By J. David McSwane

Following a national trend of public universities seeking private dollars to offset state funding shortages, CSU President Larry Penley is spending more time on the road, seeking alumni donations, research grants and working to increase the school’s national prominence, administrators said last week.

Under what the university is calling “a strong provost model,” a significant shift of responsibility has been transferred to Tony Frank, senior vice provost, and John Lincoln, executive vice president, who will respectively oversee the academic and administrative duties of the president.

“Larry’s got a really complicated job,” Frank said. “Presidents probably spend more time dealing with fundraising and legislative affairs than they used to.”

Challenged by a $832 million shortfall in the state’s funding of higher education compared to other states, Penley has refocused his efforts to “people tactics,” probing private donors, business partnerships and competing for research grants that fund the university’s highly publicized “Supercluster” initiatives, which are hoped to meld academic research into a capital-generating venture for the university.

Penley’s efforts are similar to what private universities, devoid of public support, must do to remain competitive.

In fiscal year 2008, the university raised $79.5 million in private funds and spent a record-breaking $303 million in research expenditures, most of which came from the federal government.

The research dollars – which legally can’t be funneled into the academic operations of the university and ease strains there – address CSU’s mission as a land grant institution and increase the visibility of the school, administrators said.

“When you go out to get a job, your degree will be worth more because of these efforts,” said Brad Bohlander, Penley’s spokesperson, adding that overall the university is “much better off” than before Penley took over in 2003.

“It is a transition. It is a shift,” Bohlander said.

But the efforts will not help offset the financial burden on students and parents, and some scholars say Penley’s efforts might not be all that helpful to the university.

Jim Hearn, a professor with the Institute of Higher Education at the University of Georgia, said studies show technology transfer initiatives like Superclusters can create net losses and can’t replace state support.

“While revenue diversification is an understandable approach for public universities facing financial challenges … none of the potential
alternative revenue streams holds much promise as a substitute for state
support of undergraduate education,” Hearn said in an e-mail interview. “It is not at all clear that institutions consistently receive net financial benefits from pursuing technology transfer, federal and foundation research grants, and the like.”

And the recent focus on research grants has drawn some criticism at CSU.

“What’s he raising money for?” said John Straayer, a CSU political science professor who specializes in state governments. “Is he now going to go out and raise money for tuition relief? … It can’t do a whole lot for the instructional side even if you bring in research dollars in the train loads.”

But Penley’s new focus on private funding won’t replace the university’s lobbying at the state level and working with state legislators, Frank said.

“Certainly, fundraising is an important aspect for any university these days … one of the expectations of any president is to have effective fundraising efforts,” he said. “I think Larry works pretty effectively with legislature and the governor.”

The president’s recent efforts are noticeably different than his previous attempts to battle for scarce state dollars and increase the university’s greatest revenue stream, tuition, which accounts for about half of the school’s budget.

In 2006, Penley submitted a last-minute amendment to the state budget that would have effectively raised tuition about $1,200 per student in one year, but the addition was defeated when student government lobbied against the increase.

Penley drew fiery criticism from students and the state legislature and publicly clashed with Gov. Bill Ritter, accusing him of “holding down CSU’s ability to serve its mission.”

The failed tuition increase – arguably the only option for the financially starved CSU system – illuminated the dire need for reform in funding for higher education in Colorado, which is dead last in the nation, according to a 2007 State Higher Education Executive Officers study.

While the dismal availability of funds from state continues to bog down CSU’s mission, Frank said, the university will continue to consider all sources of money.

“I think the (CSU Board of Governors) has had several discussions about what are innovative funding streams,” he said. “That raises a very long-term question: What does it mean to be a public university?”

Enterprise Editor J. David McSwane can be reached at tips@collegian.com.