Nov 272011
Authors: Seth J. Stern

Associated Students of Colorado State University President Eric Berlinberg has either a short or convenient memory. Berlinberg introduced resolutions to recognize Chancellor Joe Blake for his contributions to CSU.

Although his contributions over the course of his employment may have largely been both beneficial and well considered, a career of excellence can be derailed by even the most minor of errors.
Not only was Blake well-compensated for his work, relegating recognition by the student body superfluous at best, he demonstrated a complete disregard for the student body’s opinion on matters of personal safety.

In 2009 the Board of Governors (BOG) appointed former Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce Blake as the first chancellor to oversee CSU and CSU–Pueblo, and shortly thereafter the BOG, including resigning Chair Pat McConathy, made a political play to systemically ban the legal carry of concealed firearms on campus.
For reasons I will never understand, the BOG wanted policies for all three campuses in the CSU system.

Banning firearms on Fort Collins and Pueblo’s campuses were at least physically possible, but how the hell they ever intended to ban concealed carry in the virtual environment of CSU Global demonstrated the lunacy behind their efforts.

I’ve written repeatedly against the attempted disarming of law abiding populations –– both generally and specifically –– regarding the views held by the public safety team, certain members of the faculty, the BOG and Chancellor Blake, as well as the outspoken and fact-based opinions of the student body and gun rights advocates.

I have no objection to Eric Berlinberg sending a flowery email or card to Mr. Blake or Mr. McConathy; what I object to is student body government commending a career bureaucrat with political connections who received significant income from the CSU budget while demonstrably ignoring the will not only of a vocal student body, but also of the organized protest of the students via their student government.

Don’t forget that this wasn’t a close vote at ASCSU: they voted 21-3 against the ban, and both Blake and McConathy brushed off the vote as if they believed that the student body was comprised of ignorant fools who clearly didn’t understand the BOG, and that the university would never let an armed criminal on campus.

I mean, after all, the BOG and Chancellor are nowhere near campus the majority of operational campus days; obviously, they will protect us from those willing to carry firearms into any area regardless of administrative policy.

To break down the gun control arguments takes less than the amount of time most people take to drink a cup of coffee. The entirety of the argument for restrictive ownership is based on a reality that simply does not exist and relies heavily on emotional appeal grounded in fantasy.

Berlinberg supported his desire to have ASCSU commend Blake specifically. “I firmly believe that our campus would not be what it is today without this man. Through all the problems that we’ve had, Chancellor Blake has made this what it is today,” said Berlinberg before countering the protests of members identifying the ban as reason not to commend Blake. “He recommended that change, and it’s not that way today.”

Joe Blake held the position of chancellor for a little over 24 months, during which he collected more than half a million dollars. Exactly how much gratitude Berlinberg believes Blake deserves in addition to his annual salary of $275,000, monthly vehicle stipend of $750 and regular employee benefits, is unknown.

I tend not to take the statements of politicians –– whether a galactic blowhard such as the current president, or a student body government official such as Berlinberg –– at face value. But how much has really improved at CSU in two years?

How much has changed that, without Blake, otherwise wouldn’t have? Frankly, I have more faith in Tony.

Berlinberg says CSU wouldn’t be the institution it is today without Blake’s leadership. Without the BOG, there would be no chancellor.

In case you weren’t aware, the BOG separated the duties of chancellor and president of CSU Fort Collins after the local disaster known as Larry Penley resigned after his reign of ineptitude. Thus, not only was Blake’s job unnecessary before, but the half million in his bank account was better spent elsewhere.

I think half a million for two years of work is commendation enough. When their body of work includes a total disregard for student sentiment and student government, ASCSU should limit their praises of these two men as much as possible.

When the rights of students are removed without provocation, fact-based justification, historical need and due regard for student desires or good reason, those involved sacrifice potential commendations.

And when the same people revoking those rights have been compensated at roughly five times the average American salary while doing so, they surrender the need.

Don’t commend Joe Blake and Pat McConathy, ASCSU; they’ve taken enough from us without your praise.

Seth J. Stern proudly and enthusiastically sued the Board of Governors for violating Colorado law. His column appears Mondays in the Collegian. He can be reached at

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