Aug 162009

Sept. 11

In his annual state-of-the-university address, CSU President Larry Penley commits the university to becoming completely carbon neutral by 2020, a lofty goal that exemplifies his exhaustive marketing of CSU as “The Green University.” Penley’s plan incorporates a number of green programs, including a solar panel farm, bio-fuel initiatives and The Green Power Project, which is a plan to build a wind farm north of Fort Collins. University officials have since claimed that the carbon neutrality goal may be pushed back.


Top-level student government leaders form a financial oversight committee to investigate funding trends at CSU under Penley that pushed millions of dollars that could have gone to academics into administrative expenditures.

The committee, led by Dan Palmer, the former director of Education for the Associated Students of CSU; Taylor Smoot, the president for ASCSU;

and Trevor Trout, the former vice president for ASCSU, plans to release the results of their investigation to the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, the CSU System Board of Governors and the Joint Budget Committee, which approves the university’s final budgets.

In Penley’s five years in CSU’s top office, tuition and fees increased by 52 percent and 72 percent respectively.

Oct. 16

CSU celebrates the grand opening of the University Center for the Arts, a $45 million facility boasting world-renowned performance halls and state-of-the art practice facilities. Officials say the world-class 225,550-square-foot facility, which was completed on Oct. 1, would put CSU on the map for its music and art programs. Previously, the School of the Arts was located in the three-story Music Building on the west side of the Oval. Now, it and other departments operate from the UCA in the renovated old Fort Collins High School on Remington Street, east of campus.

Nov. 5

Penley announces his sudden resignation as CSU president to the shock of state and local communities, ending his five-year tenure marked by a CEO-style approach to leadership. Tony Frank, the senior executive vice president and provost, immediately accepts the position of interim president.

Penley vacates his post on Nov. 30.

In his time at CSU, Penley implemented numerous milestones, including increasing freshman enrollment by record numbers every year he was here and bringing the university into the national spotlight for its research accomplishments. But at the same time, Penley drastically increased administrative spending, adding more than a dozen vice presidential positions with large budgets and salaries while funding to the library and academic colleges saw much slower growth.

Dec. 16

CSU Police Department chief Dexter Yarbrough is placed on paid administrative leave, pending an investigation into his conduct by CSU and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. At the same time, the chief, who made $156,000 a year, is the subject of a Collegian investigation that finds Yarbrough had, on a routine basis, allegedly sexually harassed his employees and encouraged students in his criminal investigations course to use rogue and potentially illegal police tactics.

Dec. 20

The CSU football team wins the New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque, its first bowl game played since 2005. They defeat the Fresno State Bulldogs 40-35, winning the third annual New Mexico Bowl.

Jan. 27

CSU breaks ground on the four-story, 834-space Lake Street Parking Garage. The $22 million facility, which is set to be completed in fall 2010, will feature more than 2,700 square feet of retail space. In addition, 3,700 square feet will be devoted to an office complex to be leased by Parking Services.

March 6

Police chief Yarbrough resigns just days after being confronted with the results of a three-month investigation into his conduct by CSU and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. Though strict personnel guidelines prevent the university from releasing any information about the investigation, both Yarbrough and Frank agree the chief should leave CSU.

March 25

According to documents acquired by the Collegian in mid-March, Yarbrough was put on paid leave on Dec. 19, nine days after one of his employees filed a sexual harassment complaint against him.

Long-time CSU figurehead and beloved community icon Sonny Lubick, the former head coach for the Rams football team, is hired by the College of Business as a director of community outreach.

April 1

The Joint Budget Committee, which drafts the state’s budget, unanimously recommends a potentially devastating $300 million cut to education. This decision comes weeks after Gov. Bill Ritter recommended a $100 million cut to higher education that translated into a $13.1 million budget shortfall for CSU, Frank announced in March. Officially, the JBC votes to increase state universities’ spending authority — the current cap is 6.5 percent each year — to 9 percent.

On April 6, about 200 students from colleges and universities across the state rally at the Capitol to protest the JBC’s proposed cut to higher education.

April 8

“Green Team” Dan Gearhart and Tim Hole claim the two top student leadership positions at CSU. Gearhart and Hole, the new president and vice president of the Associated Students of CSU, ran their campaign on fuel from an environmentally friendly message and a focus on bringing a stronger voice to the CSU System Board of Governors. Gearhart said near election day that he plans to lobby for a student vote on the CSU System Board of Governors, which has yet to exist.

April 28

Rich Bircumshaw, a 54-year-old long-time announcer for CSU sports on the Colorado State radio network, passes away from a stroke in his sleep. The beloved community member was known as the “Voice of the Rams” by athletes and the CSU community. “All of us in the Ram family all across the country are deeply saddened by Rich’s passing,” says Athletic Director Paul Kowalczyk. “Rich had a wonderfully quirky sense of humor and the ability to connect with his listeners in a unique fashion. He was warm and genuine, and a friend to every student athlete, coach and administrator. He made everyone feel like an All-American, no matter who they were. He’s left us with many wonderful memories and will forever be a Ram.”

Jerry Schemmel, an announcer for the Denver Nuggets, steps into his position in June.

May 6

Two Colorado newspapers and an online political publication file a lawsuit against the CSU System Board of Governors in response to a private meeting it held to discuss candidates for the position of system chancellor. In the meeting, the board voted to approve then-board member Joe Blake to the post. The vote is later overturned in court, and the parties agree to settle the case. The board releases tape recordings of the meeting.

June 24

The CSU System Board of Governors names Frank and Blake as CSU president and system chancellor, respectively. BOG members, state politicians, professors and student leaders agree that the pair represent a fresh administrative leadership style that focuses on the improvement of academics and increasing revenue flow to higher education.

As chancellor, Blake will act as a lobbyist for CSU at the capitol, working with legislators and Colorado business leaders to establish sustainable revenue streams for the system, which is made up of the CSU-Fort Collins and CSU-Pueblo campuses and CSU’s Global Campus. At the same meeting, the BOG approves the $422.3 million dollar budget for the 2010 fiscal year and a 9 percent increase in student tuition.

July 28

Former University of Northern Colorado Police Chief Wendy Rich-Goldschmidt is named the new chief of police at CSU about three months after Yarbrough resigned from the position in March. Rich-Goldschmidt, chosen for the position above two other final contenders, takes the helm of the department on Aug. 17 as the fourth chief in CSU Police Department history. She promises a community-based police approach with increased communication and involvement between CSUPD officers and the university community.

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