March 21, 2019: University of Colorado statement on Freedom of Speech and Intellectual Inquiry

The University of Colorado, through its practices and policies, has long been a leader in promoting freedom of speech and intellectual inquiry. Its campuses have hosted a broad range of speakers across the ideological spectrum without incident. CU leadership – from the Board of Regents to the president to campus chancellors – has been consistent for several years in articulating a commitment and fostering an environment where open, respectful discourse thrives. Additionally, the CU Board of Regents has enacted a number of policies over the years that ensure the university’s governing documents and guiding principles mirror its ongoing efforts to ensure that CU campuses continue to live up to a fundamental principle of higher education as a vehicle for free inquiry and a forum for the free expression of ideas.

Jan. 30, 2019: University of Colorado statement on Title IX

University of Colorado statement on proposed U.S. Department of Education guidelines for Title IX

The University of Colorado on Jan. 30 submitted questions and comments to the Office of Civil Rights, asking for clarification on the revised Title IX regulations proposed by the U.S. Department of Education. The questions and comments are intended to help determine how to interpret and implement some key points if the proposed rules were to be adopted in their existing form.

CU is committed to creating campus communities where students, faculty and staff can study, live, learn and work without discrimination, including sexual and gender-based harassment and assault. We are committed to preventing sexual harassment and assault, providing fair and effective processes for addressing misconduct when it occurs, and promoting a culture of respect and inclusion where all members of the university community can reach their highest potential.

To further these commitments, CU has continually evaluated and improved its policies to provide safety and support to those who experience sexual assault, while also ensuring that everyone involved in an investigation has a meaningful opportunity to be heard. Our highly trained professionals administer these processes fairly and in a manner that reflects our commitment to educational and employment opportunity, equity and the rule of law. We are confident that these values have served, and will continue to serve, the CU community well, even in an evolving legal framework.

Comment on Proposed Rule - Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Sex in Education Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance 

Questions on Proposed Rule - Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Sex in Education Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance 

July 18, 2018: President Bruce D. Benson announces retirement

It has been my honor and privilege to serve as president of the University of Colorado for the past decade. Today I informed the University of Colorado Board of Regents that I intend to retire from my position, effective July 2019. I want to give the board ample time to find a successor who can continue the tremendous positive momentum at CU.

I’m proud of what we have accomplished over the past 10-plus years. The university is well positioned for a bright future. I want to stress that it is a team effort. On all four CU campuses, we have record enrollment, record research funding and record fundraising. Tens of thousands of students have earned degrees that will improve their lives and allow them to contribute to communities across Colorado and beyond. We have kept tuition increases in check, substantially increased financial aid and made access to a CU education a reality for Coloradans. The university has shown improvements in all forms of diversity.

My goal as CU president has always been simple – to make sure the university is among the best in the world, and we have a faculty that delivers on that promise every day. Great staff members support them. Students and alumni embody the university’s ideals and contributions. Donors add substantial value to our enterprise.

The university has contributed billions to our state’s economy and is one of Colorado’s greatest public assets. We improve the economy, health and culture of our state every day. Our hospital partners, with their $4.1 billion annual budget, provide first-rate health care and innovations that improve the lives of those in Colorado and beyond.

I’m also proud that our $4.5 billion annual enterprise runs efficiently and effectively thanks to measures we have taken over the past decade. Additionally, we have partnered with the Colorado legislature and governor to pass many bills that not only help CU run efficiently, but all of higher education in the state.

CU has also been innovative in the delivery of education and has placed a sharp focus on ensuring that our campuses are places where robust debate and discussion are welcome, as is a diversity of viewpoints.

None of this happens because of one person. CU is fortunate to have an exemplary faculty, an exceptional staff, a great executive team and first-rate campus chancellors.

Over the next year, I will work with the Board of Regents and my team to continue to build on the progress we have made.

Finally, I would like to thank my wife Marcy for her support. She is a partner in every sense of the word and she has supported me throughout my tenure. I could not do this job without her.

The University of Colorado has been a part of my life since I was an undergraduate some 55 years ago. It will remain an important part of my life. It will also remain critical to Colorado’s success and will continue to address the critical issues facing our nation and world. I invite you to join me in ensuring that CU lives up to the considerable promise of higher education. Thank you for allowing me to serve as your president.

[Bruce Benson]

June 16, 2017 — Clarifying statement from President Bruce Benson

In a conversation on Wednesday with a reporter, I made remarks that may have suggested that my conclusion that CU Boulder Chancellor Phil DiStefano, Athletic Director Rick George and CU head coach Mike MacIntyre had no ill intent in their handling of the allegations against former CU assistant coach Joe Tumpkin was based solely on my personal relationships with these individuals. I wish to clarify my statements.

My decisions were made following a careful review of the evidence in the Cozen O’Connor report and in extensive discussions with the board of regents and attorneys from WilmerHale.  The WilmerHale report summarized the conclusion of the Disciplinary Authority – composed of the nine members of the board of regents and myself – that there was no ill intent after considering the totality of the evidence, including the Cozen O’Connor report and the cooperativeness, candor, and credibility of the parties.  Unlike Cozen O’Connor, the regents and I, and the attorneys from WilmerHale, had the opportunity to hear from each of the parties and question them about the findings in the Cozen O’Connor report.  The board and I then discussed the issue of discipline carefully across a range of options, and in the end, were in general agreement on a course of action. These were the influencers on my decision.

In my role as president, I have forged personal relationships with many individuals throughout the university who fall under my authority. However, I have never let those personal relationships prevent me from making tough decisions, including actions to discipline or even dismiss people in the best interests of the university. I can assure everyone that this was the case in this matter.

June 12, 2017 — Statement from University of Colorado President Bruce D. Benson on Joe Tumpkin matter


The University of Colorado has treated the issue related to former Coach Joe Tumpkin with the seriousness and deliberation it demands. We have engaged nationally recognized experts to help determine what happened and advise us on what we should do about it.


President's statement on UCCS Officer Garrett Swasey

UCCS Garrett Swasey
Statement from CU President Bruce D. Benson, Nov. 27, 2015

The entire University of Colorado community mourns the tragic loss of Officer Garrett Swasey of our Colorado Springs campus, who lost his life today in the line of duty. Our thoughts and prayers are with Rachel, their children and family. Officer Swasey was a valued member of our campus community and his heroic service along with his fellow law enforcement officers and first responders is indicative of the deep ties between the campus and the Colorado Springs community. Our communities are poorer for his loss.

Professor Patty Limerick named Official Fool of the University of Colorado (April 1, 2015)

Presidential Proclamation

University of Colorado President Bruce D. Benson

Patty Limerick CU-Boulder
April 1, 2015

Whereas, on this auspicious first day of April, 2015, when fools of every stripe are feted and recognized; and

Whereas, the University of Colorado has had no faculty member step forward to act in a foolish capacity, at least in the past six hours, instead confining their activities to world-class teaching and research; and

Whereas, the concept of an Official Fool dates to Medieval days, which is entirely in keeping with the guild system that guides faculty affairs to this day; and

Whereas, Professor Patricia Nelson Limerick, who in name and in deed exemplifies the truest and best qualities of fools everywhere; and

Whereas, Professor Limerick has previous experience preparing her for this august designation by serving as official University Fool at little-known institutions Harvard and Yale; and

Whereas, the third time is a charm, according to fool lore and conventional wisdom, which are often one in the same; and

Whereas, in the interests of advancing town-gown relationships in Boulder Professor Limerick may also be recognized and known by all as the Fool on the Hill; and

Whereas, the success of the Center of the American West’s Humor Initiative will require a title of sufficient gravity (and its opposite, comedy) for its leader to advance the study of so serious a topic; and

Whereas, as a former member of the board of the Center for the American West, President Bruce D. Benson will take every opportunity to distance himself from so foolish an endeavor as the humor initiative; and

Whereas, this being the first and likely the only proclamation of the presidency of Bruce D. Benson, in making such a lofty designation and critical decision he deemed it best to consult no advisors, form no committee, appoint no task force, seek no approval from the Board of Regents, or to consider policies, practices, procedures, propriety or precedent; now

Therefore be it resolved that Professor Patty Limerick is hereby named Official Fool of the University of Colorado, with all the rights, responsibilities, reservations, roasting, raucousness, riposte and revelry the designation entails.

Task Force on Federal Regulation of Higher Education (Feb. 20, 2015)

Task Force on Federal Regulation of Higher Education (Feb. 20, 2015)

University of Colorado President Bruce D. Benson served on the Task Force on Federal Regulation of Higher Education, established in fall 2013, to consider the amount and nature of regulation on higher education, with a focus on regulation stemming from the Department of Education. The bipartisan committee was established by Senators Bennet, Alexander, Mikulski and Burr and comprised a group of 16 higher education leaders who worked for more than a year. The task force recently released its report and recommendations and will present to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions on Feb. 24. President Benson’s statement on the task force’s work.

Statement from CU President Bruce D. Benson on Gov. Hickenlooper’s proposed FY 2016 state budget (Nov. 4, 2014)

Statement from CU President Bruce D. Benson on Gov. Hickenlooper’s proposed FY 2016 state budget (Nov. 4, 2014)

Gov. John Hickenlooper’s budget request of more than $100 million for higher education demonstrates a deep commitment to Colorado students and families, as well to the importance of higher education as an economic driver for our state. We appreciate and share that commitment. The governor, lieutenant governor and Legislature stood up for higher education last year and the governor is now laying the groundwork toward restoring cuts higher education took during the recession.

We do not know how much would be allocated to the University of Colorado because a new funding formula is being developed through HB 1319, but that allocation will have a significant impact on CU's tuition rates next year.

The request also includes critical funding to complete construction projects on our Colorado Springs and Boulder campuses that will enhance educational opportunities through state-of-the-art facilities and help our students be more competitive in today’s job market.

While the long-term outlook for state funding for higher education in Colorado remains challenging, today we are grateful for the governor's commitment.

Selected details of Gov. Hickenlooper’s budget request:

  • A 10 percent operating increase for higher education totaling $60.6 million;
  • An additional $15 million to help offset the impact of implementation of HB 1319 (for a total operating increase of $75.6 million);
  • $30 million for the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Fund, a fund created last year.  Institutions must apply to access funds, which are awarded based on the quality of the proposals submitted by institutions.
  • Continuation construction costs for the Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building in Boulder ($20.2 million) and the Visual and Performing Arts building in Colorado Springs ($9.6 million).

President’s statement regarding the American Studies Association’s resolution calling for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions (Jan. 24, 2014)

President Bruce Benson’s statement regarding the American Studies Association’s resolution calling for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions (Jan. 24, 2014)

The University of Colorado community values open inquiry, vigorous debate and the free exchange of ideas. The boycott of Israeli academic institutions proposed by the American Studies Association is not only antithetical to our university’s mission and values, but also limits the dialogue that is so critical to understanding and common ground. Therefore, we strongly oppose the American Studies Association resolution.