Melissa Hart: A professor’s perspective

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Melissa Hart

The University of Colorado is facing serious challenges in the coming years: to maintain the strong research and academic programs that make the school an economic driver for our state while ensuring affordable and accessible education for Colorado’s students.

I am running to serve as a statewide representative on the Board of Regents because I understand how serious these challenges will be, and I am the candidate best able to help the university meet them. As a professor at the CU Law School, I have spent the past decade working with staff, faculty, administrators and students on the hard issues that come up every day. I understand what works well and where there are areas of concern. I understand how education for the 21st century must use innovative approaches to offer students the essential knowledge and the essential skills they will need to move into the working world.

The perspective I can offer to the Board based on these experiences is unique and essential to a strong university governing board.

CU is a powerful economic driver in our state, bringing jobs and innovation to communities all across Colorado. The university contributes $7 billion to Colorado’s economy through sponsored research, increased tourism and other factors. It is the state’s fourth-largest employer, with 25,000 employees, which include Nobel Laureates, path-breaking doctors and world-class scholars. 

Many of the university’s students are adult learners, acquiring the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in today’s work environment. The work that gets done by CU faculty and CU grads here in Colorado helps keep our state at the forefront of the global economy.

The Regents must support the work being done on CU’s campuses, and must recognize and support partnerships throughout the state that can build on strengths and meet needs in communities around Colorado.

Colorado’s children deserve a strong, public, affordable system of higher education.

We cannot continue to fund education by raising tuition year after year as the Board has done for so long. I am the mother of two young children, and I understand how frightening the prospect of constantly rising tuition is for parents thinking about their children’s futures and for students putting themselves through school today. As a regent, I always will be mindful of CU’s responsibility to the students of Colorado.

CU is the state’s largest public university, and we should serve communities of all kinds. Education should be not only affordable, but also accessible and inclusive. A diverse community is essential to a top-quality education, and every community should have an equal opportunity to succeed and to contribute I have been and will continue to be a strong advocate for equal opportunity and equal access to education for all communities across Colorado, whether they are along the Front Range, in the mountains or on the Western Slope.

The current Board of Regents has been distracted by ideological agendas and has failed in its obligation to serve the people of Colorado. Instead of focusing on the serious funding crisis that has required tuition increases every year for the past six years, the Board of Regents has spent its time discussing how to fund a chair of “conservative studies” and how to mandate “political balance” on the faculty. That won’t happen with me on the Board.

Our students need programs that will prepare them for the working world, taught by teachers who are chosen based on their skills and abilities, not their politics.

Instead of working for the safety of our students, some members of the Board have been vocal in their support of guns on our campuses.

Instead of working to ensure that families can afford to send their children to college, some members propose cutting financial aid.

Instead of fighting for our economy, some members of the Board support the economy-destroying ballot measures, 60, 61 and 101. These political agendas ignore the educational needs of students and threaten the continued vitality of CU.

I want to serve as your regent to get the Board focused on its core work: to ensure that the university offers high-quality, affordable education that is accessible to students from all across Colorado.

I am running because the Board of Regents must focus on education, not on politics.

Melissa Hart is a Democrat running for an at-large seat on the University of Colorado Board of Regents.

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