The University of Colorado system's president, Mark Kennedy, will leave his post in the coming months, the system announced Monday.
Kennedy will step down less than two years after becoming president of the four-campus public system. The former Republican congressman was selected to lead the system on a split party-line vote from the system’s Board of Regents, according to The Denver Post. In January, the board switched to majority Democratic control for the first time in 40 years.
Two weeks ago, the Faculty Assembly at the University of Colorado at Boulder censured Kennedy for what faculty members said was a failure to lead on diversity issues during his time as president. The university's student government voted earlier in April to censure the president, citing "racist or problematic remarks," among other issues.
Kennedy’s exact departure date has not been announced. The Board of Regents will select an interim president and plans to hold a national search for Kennedy’s replacement.
The United Campus Workers Colorado released a scathing statement in response to the news. In it, union spokespeople wrote that Kennedy should never have been hired.
“Members of the CU community quickly tried to stop the hiring of this ‘mediocre ideologue,’ while also criticising a process that was cloaked in secrecy and involved no meaningful input from students, faculty, staff, or the broader CU community,” the statement said. “From co-sponsoring a constitutional amendment banning marriage equality and voting against a woman’s right to control her body while a congressman, to his business history of creating a hostile work environment, to using his previous position at [sic] president to [the University of North Dakota] to give his friends highly paid jobs, Kennedy should never have been a finalist -- let alone the sole finalist -- for CU’s President.”
The system did not say exactly why Kennedy is leaving in the Monday announcement. Conversations about Kennedy’s departure were started by the board, the Post reported.
“I appreciate the many smart and dedicated people who work hard every day to help the university meet its mission to serve its students and the state,” Kennedy said in a statement. “CU is one of the country’s great public universities and I have every confidence it will continue to build on its strong reputation and upward trajectory.”