University of Colorado President Resigns After 'Trail of Tears' Comment Dust-up Mark Kennedy, president of the University of Colorado system, during a news conference on Sept. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
By Nick Koutsobinas | Tuesday, 11 May 2021 06:52 PM
The University of Colorado President Mark Kennedy sent a letter out through the school's website addressing his resignation on Monday.His resignation comes after he drew the ire of faculty and students for his mention of the phrase "Trail of Tears."
"The Board of Regents and I have entered into discussions about an orderly transition of the presidency of the university in the near future. The board has a new makeup this year, which has led to changes in its focus and philosophy. We have made great progress in each of the major areas we identified when I was honored to become president, including strategic planning; diversity, equity and inclusion; online education; and technology transformation," Kennedy's statement reads.
Kennedy mentioned the term "Trail of Tears" during a faculty meeting in 2020 while citing that the school needed to focus on online education due to the remote learning precedent brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. "On-campus is declining and online is growing. If we don't get online right… we have a trail of tears in front of us," Kennedy said, according to the Denver Post.
According to the Denver Post, Kennedy, a former GOP congressman, was hired in 2019 but drew protests for his voting record against gay marriage and previous comments on diversity.
The "Trail of Tears" refers to former President Andrew Jackson's enforced policy that relocated many Eastern Native American tribes.
According to the Daily Camera, a motion from the CUSG Legislative council read, "CUSG, as the representative body of the associated students of the University of Colorado Boulder, finds that President Mark Kennedy has failed to lead with respect to diversity, equity, and inclusion."
This comes after the committee censured Kennedy for conduct that "undermines the institution’s commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion” and “damages the national and international reputation of the University of Colorado as a leader in addressing the humanitarian, social, and technological challenges of the 21st century.”