State hopes audit report closes book on CU’s troubled history
December 9, 2005
DENVER – After the forced resignation of Colorado football coach Gary Barnett, state officials hope next week’s audit report on the university football program will be the last chapter in a long history of troubles that have kept the school reeling.”It appears to me they want to wipe the slate clean, find a new coach and move forward,” said state Sen. Ron Tupa, D-Boulder.The audit, which will be released on Monday, focuses on accounting shortcomings and cash funneled through coach Gary Barnett’s football camps, according to the Denver Post.That follows an audit last month that determined that the University of Colorado’s fundraising foundation paid more than $700,000 in questionable expenses, failed to adequately ensure that donations were spent where donors wanted and made poor choices in accepting some contributions.Tupa said many of the university’s problems stem from the football program, and those problems will clear up now that Barnett is gone.”I think the last chapter in this sad tale will be Monday, with the audit. I hope it’s the last chapter,” Tupa said.Barnett is the latest casualty in a line of officials who have left or been forced out.Last June, CU President Betsy Hoffman resigned over questions about her leadership that included the lingering football scandal and a professor whose views on victims of the Sept. 11 attacks sparked a national uproar.She was replaced by former U.S. Sen. Hank Brown, who said Thursday the university is making progress putting its problems behind it.”What you’re seeing is us taking on problems one at a time, and we’re being open on it,” said Brown.Others who have left include Richard Bynny, chancellor of the Boulder campus, and Athletic director Dick Tharp, who resigned under pressure as a result of the football scandal.Rep. Jack Pommer, D-Boulder, said the university has been through some tough times the past few years. He said university officials took the heat for some problems they did not cause, including disturbances caused by rowdy football fans and Ward Churchill, a tenured professor who touched off a firestorm when he wrote an essay comparing some World Trade Center victims to Adolf Eichmann, one of the Nazis who orchestrated the Holocaust.”These have been tough times at CU. I think they are rebounding,” Pommer said.Paul Schauer, chairman of the Board of Regents, rejected suggestions that there is a crisis of confidence in the university system as a result of the continuing controversies.He said Brown and the regents are tackling all of the issues, which have consumed the university for several years, and they are making progress.He said a university with 52,000 students and 22,000 staff members is bound to have problems.”We’re making progress, but we’re always going to be under scrutiny,” he said.