COLORADO SPRINGS- At the start of the month, the University of Colorado Board of Regents selected Mark Kennedy as the person to replace outgoing President of the University system Bruce Benson.
The announcement of Kennedy as the sole finalist was met with backlash and concern over his voting record in Congress and comments he’s made about diversity.
Among those concerns, his voting record against marriage equality.
The crowd at UCCS Tuesday showed interest in learning more about Kennedy’s leadership.
Tuesday afternoon Kennedy continued a tour he’s on throughout the state and university branches with a forum on the University of Colorado Colorado Springs campus.
While the crowd seemed cordial, audience members didn’t hold back as they pressed Kennedy on his past experiences.
“His answers to those questions, those hard-hitting questions kind of jumped around what was actually being asked,” said Irinia Amouzou, who asked Kennedy about his support for DACA students.
Kennedy said he wants to support DACA recipients and would like to visit members of the administration and be more aggressive on the issue.
Amouzou’s question was in response to Kennedy not signing a letter along with other college and University President’s created by Pomona College, which asked for the government to uphold DACA.
“It more annoyed me than really like sooth my fears,” said Amouzou, “I hope we can have a more transparent dialogue in this setting and I would invite Mark Kennedy to come speak directly and honestly to us and answer our direct questions because I’m still quite concerned.”
While many of the questions seemed to press Kennedy on issues causing concern for other students and alumni across the state, audience members also expressed their optimism towards Kennedy taking the top leadership spot for the University system.
“I think he’s going to do a good job for running the organization, I think Bruce Benson is a tough act to follow,” said Maximilian Bourgogne Von Hohenstaufen, an employee of the University.
Bourgogne Von Hohenstaufen reiterated that he believes Kennedy’s emphasis on innovation and research is important as the campus continues to grow.
Kennedy will still need a vote of approval by the Board of Regents which is expected in May, he will visit with other campuses and leaders throughout the state this week.