Copyright © 2005 Henrietta W. Hay
January 21, 2005
The woman in whose shoes I would least like to be walking today belong to Betsy Hoffman, President of the University of Colorado. She is the second woman to hold that position and I believe she has done an excellent job. The last few years, however must have been the stuff of nightmares for her.
Once upon a time I spent four of the best years of my life on that campus. Our graduation ceremony was held in Mackey Auditorium rather than in the football stadium.
Perhaps there is some significance there. The emphasis then was on learning and growing. Now, according to most of the publicity, it is on the football program.
The top quality education is still there, but the University
has suffered drastic budget cuts and a scandal ridden football program.
The University is suffering, and so am I! Our greatest claim to fame now is that C. U. is high on the list of party schools and had a Bowl team in football. The furor involving football team members, recruits and athletic department staff, excessive drinking and rape has been going on for several years. Two faculty members involved with the athletic department have resigned. Big money is, of course involved.
One bright spot in the whole thing is that the Regents voted to bill the $814,000 cost of the lengthy investigation to the athletic department.
Another episode took place the past few weeks which raised my blood pressure far beyond what my doctor recommends. It is not important like illegal recruiting of athletes or the raping of coeds or binge drinking, but is a blow to what we naively call sexual equality, and it was completely unnecessary.
Three weeks ago Ron Stump, vice chancellor for student affairs, informed the Pan Hellenic Association that hereafter sorority rushing is to be postponed until the second semester. He wrote, "There have been numerous incidents this fall that indicate that first your students are being exposed to dangerous situations as a result of their membership. I am especially concerned about the alcohol use....." So far so good. This is probably a good idea.
BUT -- What about the guys? Most of the trouble has centered in the fraternity houses. They were not included in the ban because, said Stump, he has not finished his investigation. One young male pledge died from alcohol poisoning this fall, and other fraternities have had serious incidents. What's to investigate? Why not change both groups at the same time? It looks like sexual discrimination to me Renee Ziner, an adviser to a C. U. sorority said, "We are being punished for the actions of fraternities across the country." And so they were for two weeks.
After I had written most of this, Mr. Stump belatedly announced that the fraternities also would be required to wait until the spring semester to start rushing. So now the male and female Greeks for better or worse, are under the same rules. But if the two had been announced at the same time, the University would have been spared a lot of angry women for two weeks.
I suspect that of all the difficult jobs in the world, that of the President of a big University must be close to the top. I think President Hoffman is an excellent administrator, and that she has done a fine job of handling all these crises. And I hope she gets a few nights of peaceful sleep before the next crisis erupts.