Will Coombe Knock Down DU's Evans Chapel?

(above) Evans Chapel was named after DU's founder John Evans
On Friday, University of Denver Chancellor, Dr. Robert Coombe fired off an email to students, faculty and staff promising to "understand how our actions affect others, and how cartoonish depictions not only push us apart, but also reflect our limited understanding of one another."

Coombe went on, "As our community becomes more diverse, we still have work to do with regard to mutual understanding and inclusion."

Which brings us to Evans Chapel located in in the heart of DU's campus. Can DU have a Chapel named after a man who, while Governor of Colorado in 1865, was fired ... er ... asked to resign by President Andrew Johnson for ordering and then allegedly covering-up the Sand Creek Massacre of 163 unarmed Native Americans?


Unknown said...

All Kum-by-yah needs to do is rename the chapel. He is living proof that Henry Kissenger was correct when he wrote, (paraphrasing) university politics are so intense because the stakes are so small.

I understand that Dan Ritchie's shoes are difficult to fill. But the current Chancellor is ineffective as a leader and as the "face" of the University of Denver. He needs to be replaced.

Timothy Wurtz
Class of 1973
Los Angeles, CA

dggoddard said...

Tim I agree with you. He needs to go.

*He does not have a strong, if any, rapport with the students

*He has repeatedly walked into PR minefields regarding these Inclusive Excellence & diversity issues

* He has raised tuition every single year he has been Chancellor

* He has never responded in any way to any emails I have sent to his Chancellor@du.edu address

In his favor he has increased enrollment, DU has scored the same or better in many Princeton Rankings & he has done a great job funding & improving Athletics.

Damien Goddard
Class of 1989
Houston, Texas

Anonymous said...

Coombe has a good rapport with faculty and the Board of Trustees, which matters far more than what students think of him.

DU knew exactly what they were getting when they hired him - He'd been at DU since the early 80s. He's the mild-mannered, low-key leader the Board wanted after years of high profile leadership under Ricthie, who terrified many people within DU with his corporate leadership style.

I think Coombe will be gone by 2015, after DU's 150th birthday.

dggoddard said...

How many other Universities would hire Coombe as president if he resigned or was canned by DU?

That tells you all you need to know.

We've got the best coaches and Athletic Director....The fact of the matter is that Denver is a great place to work and DU would be a heck of an opportunity.

timt89 said...

Actually, I think the University has done fine with Coombe. He fits the academic role well (Bow tie, glasses, vests, etc…) and the University has progressed well under his leadership. The diversity gobbledygook is everywhere – Universities, business, television, etc…and would be part of the conversation with or without him. He is the anti-Richie and Richie may never be duplicated again – at DU or any other University.

I love what is happening in the athletic department and he has enabled that…The coaches are some of the very best in the country and the University is willing to lose $11+ million per year to advertise via athletics. So what if he hates Boone, that just creates a huge underground demand for Boone paraphernalia and makes Boone even more cool for the students and alums. Even though Boone is the ‘unofficial mascot’, he is still everywhere at events and the administration is just turning the other way – not trying to stop it. I think DU will always move back to the right because it will always be beholding to the business community in Denver. The hard-core lefties will always gravitate to Boulder or CC to have their liberal echo chamber.

When I was there, we referred to it as ‘the University of second choice’. It has certainly come a long way since then and made us proud. I’m just glad I went there when I did—I’d never get in now!

Anonymous said...

Tim makes a good point.

Don't think diversity stuff would be any different under Ritchie's watch.

Ritchie was so worried about diversity, he killed off Boone in the first place and gave us the Red Tailed Hawk...

Of course, his diversity acts can be forgiven by the hundreds of millions that poured in to DU.

dggoddard said...

Nothing wrong with diversity. Lets get that straight right now.

The problem is how its being implemented by the administration running DU. This Cowboys & Indians situation has been completely mishandled in my opinion.

DU blamed one side publicly and hung them out to dry. It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

I'm hearing that there's a lot of resentment on campus right now. Nowhere in Coombe's comments did he mention the hundreds if not thousands of positive contributions made by Greek members this year.

Coombe lives in the penthouse of the Ivory Tower.

Anonymous said...

Im shocked he would not e-mail DG back. I mean someone of your importance. How rude.

dggoddard said...

You're CEO of a University and you don't have someone responding to emails?

Kind of strange.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't respond if I saw the email was from DG either.

ScottA said...

Coombe needs to pay more attention to the Princeton Review's rankings in areas like of Classroom Experience, Accessible Professors and Career Services, (where's DU?) rather than wasting time, money and effort on rankings in Diversity which is, ultimately, a red herring.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, this pursuit of "diversity" seems like kind of a waste of time. If people from different backgrounds want to attend DU, let them apply, and let them in if they qualify. Hiring all these "diversity specialists" seems like a sad attempt to obscure the fact that a lot of white kids attend DU. Giving in to some outspoken professors on mascot issues and "multicultural sensitivity" doesn't do a darn thing to make DU a more diverse place.

That said...there are more ways to judge a college chancellor than on the stupid way that he views a mascot. Coombe has fumbled on the latter issue, and he does seem to have a rather "blah" persona. But the university appears to be in good shape in more important areas, and I'm not sure there is a ton to complain about with him. If I'm wrong, correct me.

Unknown said...

I know parents of DU students who say the university is unresponsive. That's an institutional attitude that starts at the top.

I've heard many criticisms about the Provost and his "academic double speak."

One friend who has two children at DU says dealing with the University has become very difficult in the past few years.

Another says it seems as if DU is setting up a system to perpetuate the institution, its staff and faculty without regard for students. That echos something a DU professor once said to me: "being here is the greatest job in the world. It would be even greater without the students." It wasn't meant as a joke.

I hear these things because people know I'm very pro-DU. I serve on the Alumni Admissions Council and I do a bit of volunteer work for DU in the LA area.

During my time at Denver, it was never referred to as the U of Second Choice. That was always reserved for the true university of second choice, the U of Southern California - USC. DU had then and still has, world-class schools and departments with the faculty to match. The place certainly suffered in the 80s, but recovery under Dan Ritchie was swift and healthy.

I agree that Ritchie made a number of bad choices. Banning Boone; the push for some type of PC diversity and others. But he did lead the return to division 1 athletics, raised tremendous amounts of money and pulled all of DU academics higher. Ritchie was a leader. He set a positive tone that's being eroded. One example: the Hyde Interviews of applicants for admission. Until recently, they were mandatory. All applicants were interviewed. Now, they're "suggested." That new policy came from the top and has re-introduced a more guess work into the acceptance process.

Anyway, that's enough for now. As for liberals heading for Boulder and CC, I came by my progressive-liberalism at DU. My dad, who was a senior US government official who served in a number of foreign postings, is probably spinning in his grave...

Timothy Wurtz
DU '73
Los Angeles, CA