News & Notes
























Boulder Daily Camera
by Sarah Kuta
April 18, 2015

After months of impassioned pleas from students concerned about the environment, the University of Colorado on Thursday said no to cutting financial ties with coal, oil and gas companies.

The school’s Republican-controlled Board of Regents voted to reaffirm the university’s current investment practices, which are based on neutrality and do not exclude any industries.

The resolution passed 7-2 with two Democratic board members, Boulder’s Linda Shoemaker and Denver’s Irene Griego, voting no.

“The Board of Regents spoke clearly that we don’t believe in divestment of energy companies,” said Regent John Carson, a Republican from Highlands Ranch. “It’s an important industry to our state.”

CU’s total investment pool is nearly $2.7 billion, according to CU officials. Some of that is managed by the university treasurer’s office and some by the CU Foundation, the nonprofit group that oversees donations, the university’s endowment and investments.

About 3 percent to 4 percent of that total is invested in the energy sector, which includes both renewable energy sources and industries that support fossil-fuel companies, CU officials have said.

Carson said the resolution, which he authored, restated CU’s commitment to state and university policies that guide the way the school invests its money. He said CU cannot and should not make investment decisions for political reasons.

“We’re not going to start picking and choosing investments based on people’s political views,” he said.

Shoemaker wanted to create a sustainable investment committee that would report to the board and the university treasurer, but that measure failed after some discussion.

Earlier this week, Shoemaker told a group of student protestors that she didn’t have the votes for “all-out divestment.”

While she was disappointed by Thursday’s meeting, Shoemaker said she does not believe this is the end of divestment discussions at CU.

“It’s a lost opportunity for this university,” she said after the meeting. “I’m disappointed and discouraged.”

Shoemaker added that she felt the board’s decision not to divest was a political one.

“I do not believe this Board of Regents has any genuine commitment to sustainable investment practices,” she said.

‘A ridiculous case to make’

Regent Michael Carrigan, a Denver Democrat, said he feels there are other ways for CU to show its commitment to sustainability. He and Regent Steve Ludwig were the two Democrats who said no to divestment.

“I do not envision a scenario that we will support total divestment,” Carrigan said before the vote. “But I don’t see this as a black-and-white issue.”

Others were peeved by tactics used in the local divestment campaign, a movement made up largely of CU students who have publicly called on the board to divest from companies that profit from oil, coal and gas.

“My frustration with this has been and is with the demonization of energy companies,” said Regent Sue Sharkey, R-Castle Rock. “They’re not our enemy and energy companies provide our society with our existence.

“It is a ridiculous case to make that this university divesting from fossil fuels is going to make a difference toward climate change or global warming or whatever the term is — I can’t keep up.”

‘Reinvesting in community infrastructure’

In contrast to some past meetings, few students spoke before the board to urge divestment. During the early morning meeting in snowy Denver, students on CU’s Boulder campus were wrapping up a peaceful three-day protest on Norlin Quad.

Instead, financial advisers and other professionals told the board it should consider the financial incentives to divesting from fossil fuel companies.

Coby Wikselaar, a CU-Denver student, said she believes divesting could have financial and social benefits.

“The campaign is not seeking to overnight destroy a lot of jobs and uproot a lot of really crucial infrastructure, but we’re looking to take this huge instance of change we’re seeing on a local level and move forward with reinvesting in community infrastructure and sustainable development that will not only benefit portfolios now but people as a larger whole,” Wikselaar told the board.

A handful of speakers, most affiliated with the oil and gas industry, urged the board to reject a campaign led by “radical extremists,” as one speaker noted.

“The anti-fossil fuel campaign is really a national campaign run by far-left environmental activists,” said Michael Sandoval of the Independence Institute, a free-market think tank in Denver. “To be blunt, this is a national campaign using college students to shut down one of Colorado’s leading job creators.”

Remarks by Regent Shoemaker to student protesters at Board of Regents Meeting
February 20, 2015

It warms my heart to see you protesting; because, that’s what I was doing when I was in college on the Boulder Campus in the 1960’s. We were protesting the Vietnam War and fighting for racial and gender equality. Those were the defining issues of my generation. Climate change is the defining issue of your generation.

This is my first regular Regent meeting since taking office. My predecessor, Joe Neguse, would have been so proud of you all. He was always the best champion for students on the Board of Regents. I spoke with Joe last night and told him that I would try to channel him in my remarks today.

I have always said that I would support reasonable, responsible fossil fuel divestment & I will. However, I need a specific proposal in front of me to say whether or not it passes the test of being both reasonable and responsible. What do I mean by those two words?

By reasonable, I mean, sensible & realistic for the University of Colorado as an institution. For example I have celiac so I think gluten is poison. So, if I started a non-profit focused on exposing the dangers of wheat, it would be reasonable for that organization to divest from wheat stocks. However, it wouldn’t be reasonable for me to expect CU to divest from its wheat-growing stocks.

By responsible, I mean, that divestment be accomplished in a way that is prudent & practical. You’ve heard from our Legal Counsel and our Treasurer, some of the hurdles confronting CU if it wanted to make responsible divestment choices. Those hurdles are real; but, probably not insurmountable.

Today, I’d like to focus on the first part of my test – Is it reasonable for CU to divest from fossil fuels? Here’s the way I would frame the question:

Should CU better align its investments with its values?
And if not, why not?

Personally, I’ve also been wrestling with the divestment issue with our small family foundation – the Brett Family Foundation, which my husband and I endowed 15 years ago. In the past, I always thought that the money-making part of our personal foundation and the grant-making part were totally separate. I thought that maximizing returns was only important thing about the investment portfolio and I took it at face value that I needed to own fossil fuel stocks to do that.

Over the last few years, that separation between our personal foundation investments and our grantmaking has made me increasingly uneasy. I just got to the point that I felt the values of our foundation were not well enough aligned with our investment practices. I came to believe that it’s not enough to make grants furthering social justice if our investments don’t take social justice impacts into account.

My husband, on the other hand, thinks like a banker & he wanted to stay invested in fossil fuels. The two of us had this same divestment debate over the past year that this Board is now having. The result is that we are now in the process of substantially divesting the Brett Family Foundation from fossil fuel stocks. It’s very difficult. And yet, it is far easier than the practical difficulties presented to this University.

Back to the University of Colorado – Should CU better align its investments with its values? Each of us on the Board of Regents will answer this question differently. My answer is YES.

Our President, Bruce Benson proudly points out that CU –Boulder is one of the greenest campuses in the county. Even the most conservative areas of the campus are proud of that fact. Yesterday, for instance, we on the Athletic Committee heard about the Sustainable Excellence program & that the new indoor practice facility will be the first in the country to be a net-zero energy user.

Having had this same divestment debate within my own family, I’m ready to explore what this Board thinks are CU’s values and whether or not it’s reasonable to align our investments with those values. From there, we have various options on how that alignment could responsibly take place.

In conclusion, I want to thank the students for raising the divestment issue and forcing this Board to consider your concerns. I hope we will continue this conversation. As I said, climate change is the defining issue of your generation.

My generation was busy protesting the Vietnam Nam War; we were marching in Selma and fighting for equal rights for all. It’s been nearly 50 years. What did we accomplish? Not enough. We stopped one war but our county has been embroiled in wars ever since. American society has made significant progress on racial and gender equality; but, much remains to be done. I just hope that when you are my age, that you can look back on this day, and be able to say that you made more progress than my generation did addressing the most important challenge of your generation, that of our planets changing climate.

CU Connections
by Jay Dedrick
November 6, 2014

Voters in three of Colorado’s congressional districts on Tuesday chose their representatives to the University of Colorado Board of Regents.

Regent Irene Griego, D-Lakewood, will retain her seat on the nine-member board, as she won election to her first full, six-year term. She will be sworn in on a date to be determined in January, as will two new board members who won seats being vacated.

John Carson, R-Highlands Ranch, won the seat now held by Regent James Geddes, R-Sedalia.

Linda Shoemaker, D-Boulder, won the seat now held by Regent Joe Neguse, D-Broomfield.

(Note: Vote totals and percentages are according to the Secretary of State’s election website as of noon Wednesday.)

In the 7th Congressional District, Griego won with 59 percent, or 116,398 votes. Libertarian challenger Steve E. Golter had 41 percent, or 80,590 votes.

Griego came to the board in 2011 as an appointment of Gov. John Hickenlooper after the resignation of Regent Monisha Merchant. Griego then won the 2012 election that determined who would serve the remaining two years of Merchant’s term. In January, she and the two new regents will begin six-year terms.

Griego has 38 years of experience in education, from pre-K to university level, as a teacher, principal, administrator and university instructor. She earned her bachelor’s degree at CU-Boulder and doctorate at CU Denver, with a master’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado in between. She is the recipient of numerous school and community awards.

“What’s important for me is the ability to continue my support for all students in the state of Colorado and beyond,” Griego said Wednesday. “I truly believe in collaboration, and the need to be accessible and visible in our community.”

Griego said she’ll continue to emphasize the importance of collaboration across the university, and the need to support the state and nation’s diverse populations.

“We also need to ensure that attending CU is affordable for students,” she said. “We need to do whatever is possible to see that we retain our students and see that every one of them becomes a graduate of the university.”

Griego also pledged her full support to CU faculty and staff. “As regents, it’s important not only that we work together, but that we support the people who serve and support our students.”

In the 6th Congressional District, Carson won the seat with 57 percent, or 128,521 votes, defeating Democrat Naquetta Ricks, who earned 43 percent, or 98,831 votes.

Carson was president of the Douglas County Board of Education from 2009 to 2013, and served on that board beginning with his election in 2005. He earned bachelor’s and law degrees at CU-Boulder and a tax law degree from Georgetown. The Greenwood Village attorney also served in the Marines and has extensive experience working on Washington’s Capitol Hill.

“It’s exciting to be getting back involved with the university after being a 1987 law school graduate and a 1983 political science graduate,” Carson said Wednesday. “It’s exciting to be a part of the institution. I plan to support the continued great work of faculty and staff on behalf of our students, and the people of Colorado, as we continue to build a great university. It’s a critical part of our state and I look forward to being a small part of it.”

Carson said affordability was the main issue that came up while he campaigned, especially among in-state students.

“I think we really need to address the affordability issue, and make sure we’re doing the best job we can to keep tuition under control and affordable,” Carson said. “I also want to make sure we’re offering students a wide range of diversity in viewpoints and dialogue on campus. And I want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to improve the university and build on the legacy of all the work done in the past to make CU a great university.”

In the 2nd Congressional District, Shoemaker took 50 percent of the vote, or 150,456. Republican Kim McGahey had 43 percent, or 128,109 votes; Libertarian Daniel Ong received 7 percent, or 21,333 votes.

Shoemaker is a former journalist and attorney who devoted the past 20 years to advancing quality public education in the state. A CU-Boulder alumna, she was elected and served as president of the Boulder Valley School District Board of Education, was founding board chair of the Bell Policy Center, and currently serves as president of the Brett Family Foundation, which she co-founded with her husband, Steve Brett.

“I’m thrilled. It’s a dream come true for me,” Shoemaker said Wednesday of her election. “It’s a perfect place for me to serve, to try to maintain that excellent reputation that CU has despite this incredibly difficult funding environment. I’m looking forward very much to getting to know the other regents and figuring out ways we can work together to make CU better and more affordable at the same time.”

Shoemaker said she was inspired by her experience as a citizen adviser during the creation of CU-Boulder’s new College of Media, Communication and Information; she hopes CU can identify more interdisciplinary academic opportunities across the university.

“I really think the faculty and staff at CU are outstanding,” Shoemaker said. “Virtually everyone who works for the university is doing an excellent job, and my role on the board is to support the faculty and staff on the campuses to get their work done. I look forward to learning more about how I can do that.”

Shoemaker said she wants to work to boost funding for scholarships, especially at CU Denver and UCCS. Her perspective as a woman – she’ll be the third on the current board – informs her interest in issues of discrimination, harassment, sexual assault and student safety, she said.

Because the two major parties retained their seats – with new electees – the board will continue with a Republican majority (5-4).

“It’s important for all of us as CU regents to be able to work together on behalf of the university,” Griego said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat or Republican; what matters is what you can do for this university. We’re going to leave politics at the door.”

Shoemaker said she has seen that philosophy at work among board members.

“I’ve observed a lot of board meetings, and I believe there’s great cross-partisan cooperation,” Shoemaker said. “It’s not nearly as contentious a place to serve in the minority as some other examples that we see nationally.”

Carson said he looks forward to working with colleagues on the board, as well as with the administration and faculty. While it’s important for the board to share a unified voice, he said, “I also think it’s important to realize we have a unique system in Colorado of elected regents, who are elected by party, and that gives the voters an important voice in the operations of the university.”

November 2, 2014

Boulder Daily Camera
by Sarah Kuta
October 5, 2014

As Colorado Democrats battle to maintain control of the governor’s office and the seat held by U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, the party could take over the University of Colorado’s Board of Regents for the first time in more than three decades.

Republicans have long controlled the nine-member, publicly elected board that oversees the university system’s $3 billion budget. This year, Democrats are hoping to take over the board majority for the first time since 1979.

Three seats are up for grabs this election cycle.

Incumbent Democrat Irene Griego, who has served on the board since late 2011, is running against Libertarian candidate Steve Golter in the 7th Congressional District.

Three candidates — Democrat Linda Shoemaker, Republican Kim McGahey and Libertarian Daniel Ong — are vying for a seat from the 2nd Congressional District.

But perhaps the most closely watched district on Nov. 4 will be the 6th Congressional District, where Democrat Naquetta Ricks and Republican John Carson are chasing the seat vacated by Republican Jim Geddes, who is leaving for a spot on the Douglas County school board.

During his six-year term, Geddes often promoted his belief that CU’s Boulder campus needed more political diversity, chiefly on the Republican side.

Once a Republican stronghold, the Aurora-based 6th Congressional District is now one of the most competitive in the state after 2011 redistricting. Ricks and Carson are battling in a district split evenly among Republicans, Democrats and independent voters.

‘Partisan politics plays a big role’

To CU President Bruce Benson, the 1994 Republican nominee for governor, politics aren’t a big factor in his relationship with the board.

“I don’t really think about that,” he said. “Some of my best supporters on the board are Democrats. We’ve got a lot of work to do, and you ought to forget about partisan politics, as I have done.”

But some argue that Benson wouldn’t have the president’s job if it weren’t for the board’s Republican majority. His hiring came after a 6-3 party-line vote by the regents in 2008, with all three Democrats on the board voting against him.

“I think that partisan politics plays a big role in the Board of Regents,” said Cindy Carlisle, a former regent and a Democrat. “Mainly what it does, as in other political bodies, is shift the balance of power. If (the board) has nine members and five of them are one party, then they control setting up search committees for presidents.”

Perhaps the most politically sensitive topic to come before the regents in recent years was whether concealed guns should be allowed on campus.

In the end, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that the regents didn’t have the authority to make that decision. Even since that ruling, many regents have spoken publicly — and fiercely — about their stance on guns.

Regent Steve Bosley, a Republican with an at-large seat, acknowledged that philosophical differences exist on some issues, but he said much of what the regents decide or discuss is not overtly political.

Bosley pointed to the unanimous approval of the new College of Media, Communication and Information — an academic matter with no place for politics.

Even when politics come into play, Bosley said the board mostly balances itself out.

“We’re a nine-member board,” he said. “If we only needed one opinion, it would only be a one-person board. So differences are going to be there; it’s just how you deal with the differences, and after a vote, you walk away and say, ‘What’s the next issue?'”

Bob Sievers, a Democrat who served on a board with seven Republicans, said regents’ constituents don’t care much about politics. They’d rather make sure their tax dollars are being used effectively and that students are getting a good education.

“I don’t think you (would) see any profound change in what the board does,” he said. “The important thing is how collegial they are going to be and how they’re going to work to understand the complexities of the budgets and the academic programs. It’s hard work.”

September 11, 2014

I have spoken throughout the campaign about all the campuses except my home campus of Boulder. So, here are the top three things I love about the Boulder campus of the University of Colorado.

1) NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED FACULTY. Boulder’s Nobel Prize winners and MacArthur Fellows are the tip of the iceberg. They are emblematic of the scientific research strength of CU Boulder and its affiliated federal research labs.

2) COMMUNITY BENEFIT. CU students are attracted to the campus because it’s located in the city of Boulder. Likewise, residents are attracted to Boulder because of the CU campus. In recent years, I personally have enjoyed the many advantages of living where I can audit classes, attend performances at the Music School, and listen to lectures, such as those at the Conference on World Affairs.

3) JOURNALISM’S CREATIVE RE-CONSTRUCTION. Chancellor DiStefano told me seven years ago, that the journalism program needed to re-invent itself, but he would not let it die. I’m proud to have participated in the re-creation of the program, which will start in the fall as the new inter-disciplinary College of Media, Communications and Information. This is a huge accomplishment. I hope Boulder’s experience will prove helpful to other campuses as they decide how their academic programs should change for the digital age.

July 20, 2014

There’s a lot of bad news about higher education lately.

Anyone see The Denver Post headline this morning? “Paying for College is a Stretch – Working your Way Through is Impossible”

Tuition increases are making headlines across the county. But, it’s even worse in Colorado than most other states. Why? We rank 48th in the county in our state support for public higher education. When I went to CU, it really was a public institution. In those days, 60% of the university budget was covered by public funds. Today, of the entire CU budget, only 5% comes from public support. Tuition has tripled because state aid has tanked.

I’m running for CU Regent because of all that bad news. I want to do something about it. I want to help make the University of Colorado more affordable, more accountable and more accessible. I’m running for CU Regent so I can stand up and say that it’s time for Colorado to re-invest in higher education.

However, I’m also running because of the good news about the University of Colorado. I don’t want all the bad news to obscure the truth about CU. I would be very proud to be a Regent for the University of Colorado.

At this point, you might be wondering: What does a Regent do? The Regents are like a School Board, governing the four campuses of the CU system with 60,000 students and a $3.4 billion budget. We are lucky to have the flagship campus in Boulder. There are also great campuses in Colorado Springs and Downtown Denver. The fourth campus is the word-class Anschutz Medical Campus.

I got a great education at CU-Boulder and so do students today. The Boulder campus has excellent professors, nationally-ranked programs and world-renowned researchers. CU understands the challenges facing higher education in the digital age; it is reinventing itself for the future. A perfect example is what’s happened over the past five years with journalism education.

Journalism is near and dear to my heart because I graduated from the School of Journalism & Mass Communications. You may remember that the J-School was discontinued by the Regents in a controversial split vote. Some Regents voiced concern that journalism education would just disappear, but didn’t, and it won’t.

I said at the time that discontinuance would prove to be “creative destruction,” and it was. The Regents just approved the first new College in 50 years – it will be a College of Media, Communication and Information. Journalism and Mass Communications programs will be bigger and better than ever. The new College will be an interdisciplinary, cutting-edge combination of programs focused on digital media. That’s just one example of how CU is modernizing to better serve students.

I’m a proud CU grad and a proud Democrat. As Democrats, one of our strongest shared values is quality public education. We know that public education is the foundation of our democracy and the gateway to opportunity. I want to be your voice on these issues on the CU Board of Regents.

We need to keep this seat in Democratic hands, and you are ones who will make that happen. You are the workers who will help me win. You are the workers who will encourage voters to vote all the way down the ballot. For me to win, Senator Udall must win. Thank you, in advance, for all the hard work you will put in over the next few months to make sure that Democrats win in November.


July 2, 2014

Today, EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, endorsed Linda Shoemaker for the University of Colorado Regent in the Second Congressional District, which spans all of Boulder, Larimer, and parts of eight mountain counties along the Front Range.

“Linda Shoemaker’s commitment to quality higher education, greater opportunities for women, and progressive values will really make a difference for the University of Colorado,” said Denise Feriozzi, EMILY’s List Political Director. “We need more leaders like Linda in office – her strong understanding of education policy makes her the right person for the job, and the EMILY’s List community – now more than three million members strong – is excited to support her candidacy.”

Linda Shoemaker is a proud CU graduate who has devoted the past twenty years to public service advancing quality public education. She served as President of the Boulder Valley School District Board of Education and founded the Bell Policy Center, a non-profit think tank committed to making Colorado a state of opportunity for all. She served on the CU Foundation Board of Trustees raising philanthropy dollars for the University system. Currently, Linda is President of the Brett Family Foundation which funds state-level progressive public policy programs and local nonprofits serving disadvantaged teens. She is married with three children, five grandchildren, and one giant Alaskan Malamute.

June 26, 2014

I started running for Regent a year ago. So, to me, it seems like this election process has already taken forever. Of course, it’s not over until the votes are counted in November, but I’m hoping to join you in January. And, even if I don’t, I’ll be doing something with all this passion I have for public higher education.

When I started this journey, I thought I’d have plenty of time to learn about the issues. But, so far, I’ve mostly been dealing with politics and constituents in the Second Congressional District. This summer, I’m finally focused on studying more in depth about the policy issues confronting higher education.

I’m doing that by reading books. Lots of books. Actually, I order lots of books, but seem to only have time to read a few of them. On that, I’d like your help. What books should I be reading?

I’ve just finished this one – “Degrees of Inequality: How the Politics of Higher Education Sabotaged the American Dream” by Cornell Political Science Professor Suzanne Mettler. It’s depressing. Mettler cares about something we all do — socioeconomic inequality. She believes that well-intended government policies have come to exacerbate, rather than mitigate, inequality.

I’m looking for my next book, and I hope each of you on the Board of Regents, and anyone else in the room, will send me recommendations on books, research papers and articles to read. Please tell me — What book helped you understand the challenges facing public higher education and the University of Colorado? What book best articulates your own worldview of the role of public higher education? What book do you want a new Regent to read before they start voting?

One thing I’ve noticed from watching the Board of Regents over time, is that you all look at the same facts, but you reach different conclusions. I would like to understand how your vantage point, your value system, differs from mine. So, those of you in the room who voted in the Republican primary this week, I particularly want to hear from you.

April 29, 2014

I am going to continue my tradition of telling you what I love about each campus. Today, I’m focused on the Anschutz Medical campus from my interactions with it as a private citizen over the past few years.

1) Great Doctors
My son is a Family Physician so I’m pretty picky when it comes to my doctors. And at my age, I have a few interesting medical issues, so I have quite a few doctors and all of them work for you. The doctors here are all great and I can honestly say that I feel younger today than I did ten years ago, thanks to a gluten-free diet and my medical team.

2) World Class Researchers
As you well know, this campus ranks among the top 10 in the county in its research funding and productivity. The fact that the high-profile Aspen Ideas Festival this year will focus on the exciting work being done on this campus is a testament to the advances being made here every day in medicine, health care and biotechnology.

3) Teaching & Learning
This campus is training the best of the next generation of health care professionals – doctors, dentists, nurses, pharmacists and public health care experts. I want to highlight the School of Public Health, which is a cutting edge collaboration between CU and our two public universities to the north – Colorado State University and the University of Northern Colorado.

So those are the top three reasons why I love this campus – Great Doctors, World Class Researchers and Six Exciting Medical Schools and Colleges.

April 12, 2014

Thank you—Jared Polis, Joe Neguse, and Maggie Fox—for your generous words and your unwavering support.

Hello Democrats! Thank YOU for being here today!

My name is Linda Shoemaker. I’m running for CU Regent because I love the University, and I long for the State of Colorado to re-invest in higher education.

As Democrats, one of our strongest shared values is quality public education. We understand that education is the foundation of Democracy and the gateway to opportunity. We understand that higher education is increasingly necessary for good jobs and that the state should pay its fair share of the costs. I am asking for your vote today, so I can be your Democratic Voice on these issues.

I was really lucky to be able to attend CU—because—my parents couldn’t help me financially. I used a gift from my Grandmother, worked for minimum wage and managed to graduate debt-free.

However, we know that today’s student can’t do that because college is no longer affordable. We know that CU’s tuition has tripled because state aid has tanked and Colorado ranks 49th out 50 states in support for higher education. We know that only 5% of CU’s budget comes from public funds, and we know that it’s time for the State of Colorado to re-invest in Higher Education.

Over the past five years, I’ve spent a lot of time back at CU. In order to learn about the issues, I’ve audited classes, served on advisory boards and attended lots of Regent Meetings; to help the University, I’ve been a CU Advocate; and to help students, I’ve been a Trustee of the CU Foundation raising money for all four campuses.

What I’ve learned is that CU is still great. It’s still an institution worth investing in. With your support, I will invest my time over the next six years helping CU be more affordable, accountable and accessible.

As YOUR representative on the Board of Regents, I will also help CU strive for excellence and sustainability. Here are my top three priorities:

1) Cut Expenses – Put more money into the classrooms and the laboratories where the real learning takes place. CU doesn’t need fancy dorms and multiple layers of administration. What it does need are great professors and great researchers.

2) Increase Income – Increase philanthropy and scholarships by working with the CU Foundation. Increase state aid by working with state legislators. And increase federal research dollars by working with our Congressman Jared Polis.

3) Speak Out – Joe Neguse taught me the value of Speaking Out on difficult issues. Thank you Joe, for always putting students first and Speaking Out about Access and Affordability. I promise to keep that pressure on.

And I will Speak Out publicly—every chance I get—saying that it’s time for the State of Colorado to re-invest in Higher Education. I invite all of YOU to Speak Out as well. Together, we can get Colorado talking about the need to make college affordable again for our students.

I’m Linda Shoemaker. I would be honored to have your vote to carry our Democratic values into the fall election and onto the Board of Regents. Because of my passion for public education and public service, you know I will work hard for you and for CU. Thank you!

March 21, 2014

The issue of how much to raise tuition must be one of the most difficult ones you face. This year, at least, I’m spared having to participate.

Despite that, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the problem of raising tuition. And, the truth of the matter is — Unless there is some radical change in state funding, tuition will probably continue to increase. That’s a terrible thing for a candidate to say. But it’s true. However, a raise in the published tuition rate, doesn’t have to mean a raise in the NET cost for students.

I want to talk to you today about two specific ideas I have to make a CU education more affordable.

First idea — let’s start Coop Dorms on every campus. My eldest daughter Claudia went to Harvard and chose to live in the coop. It was a grungy old dorm that hadn’t been rehabbed. The students there didn’t participate in the room and board program so they didn’t have the benefit of special services like free transportation and tutoring. Instead, they cleaned the whole dorm and cooked their own meals. They saved about $2,500/year.

Second idea, — let’s triple scholarship dollars. I give credit to Don Elliman for this audacious idea – UC-Denver has a new program – 1000 More – dedicated to tripling the amount of money for scholarships. How great is that?

Total scholarship funding from the CU Foundation today is about $15 million a year system-wide. By 2020, I want to see that number triple to $45 million. If Downtown Denver can do it, the other campuses can too. And I will help you make that happen. I do know something about raising money. I’m the President of a small family foundation and a Trustee of the CU Foundation.

I promise you right now – Chancellors Elliman, Shockly and DiStefano – if I’m elected, (and even if I’m not) I’ll show up whenever you want me to, helping you raise money for scholarships. By 2020, we WILL triple scholarship dollars for deserving CU students.


March 17, 2014

Colorado House Speaker Mark Ferrandino has introduced HB 14-1319, which would change the funding formula among the state’s 28 institutions of higher education. That may or may not be what the state wants to do. However, certainly there needs to be a larger conversation among the colleges and universities before such precipitous changes are made.

The current funding formula has kept the peace for years. Changes should endeavor to create a sustainable funding model that is agreed upon by most of the stakeholders and better accomplishes the policy goals of the legislature. As CU has said, “It’s a complicated issue that requires thoughtful input and appropriate time.”

One of the bill’s goals is to fund outcomes rather seat time. That’s something that CU and the other schools support as well. Finding a fair way to do that is difficult.

Per student funding for higher education in Colorado is 49th among the 50 states. Despite that, all of the schools have come to rely on state support. Dramatically shifting funding among institutions will make those institutions losing funds more expensive over time. Currently, of CU’s total budget, only 5% comes from state funds. Under this bill, CU tuition for in-state students would need to be raised at a time when everyone agrees that it is too high already.

Speaker Ferrandino’s bill would have the effect of taking away money from the University of Colorado and the University of Northern Colorado. Those funds would primarily be reallocated to Metro State University and Colorado State University. Community colleges would not see much change.

I agree with Speaker Ferrandino on one point – that we need to support economically disadvantaged students. However, I don’t assume that those students would necessarily choose Metro over CU. I hope that students who are admitted to both schools can retain the opportunity to choose whichever school suits them best. The big problem in Colorado is lack of state funding, not the allocation formula.


Boulder Daily Camera
February 22, 2014

CU’s Board of Regents has good news for in-state students; next year’s tuition increase is projected to be 3.6 percent to 4.1 percent on the Boulder campus, thanks to the state of Colorado legislature, which has proposed $100 million in new higher education funding across the state.

As a candidate for the University of Colorado Board of Regents (CD-2) in the November election, I applaud this action. However, one year of reasonable state funding and reasonable tuition increases is not good enough. It will do little to address CU’s long-term fiscal flat-line. Colorado ranks dead last among the states in state support per 4-year college student (National Center for Higher Education Management Systems).

How does this lack of state support affect today’s student? I was able to graduate debt-free, despite the fact that my parents could not help me financially. I had a little bit of money from my grandmother and I worked part-time.

Today’s undergraduate student, with the same combination of family support and paid employment, adjusted for inflation, will end up in debt. They can’t work themselves through school, but will be saddled with $20,000 of debt. Why? Because tuition today, adjusted for inflation, is almost triple what it was 40 years ago. And the primary reason for that increase is that state aid has decreased from 60 percent of CU’s budget to the point where state aid this year covers only 5 percent of CU’s costs.

The facts show, of course, that CU students get a great education at a reasonable price and that college graduation will pay for itself over time in increased earnings. Those facts are small consolation for the student waiting tables at restaurants they can’t afford to frequent or serving lattes they can’t afford to buy.


February 19, 2014

Too often on the campaign trail we focus on the negative. Instead, Shoemakerheadshottoday, I’m highlighting what I love about CU’s Colorado Springs campus.

Here are the top three reasons why I love this campus based on my interactions with UCCS as a citizen and donor over the past few years:

1. Reach Your Peak & other scholarship funds – I first heard about UCCS as a great place for non-traditional students in 2000 when I adopted a group of I Have a Dream Students. They were all living in poverty and striving to be the first in their families to attend college; this campus was held up as a model for the kind of University where they could succeed. Since then, I’ve donated to UCCS’s Reach Your Peak Scholarship Fund, which provides both money and mentoring.

2. Southern Colorado Education Consortium – Chancellor Shockley led this effort to bring 10 colleges and universities together to create more effective cooperation among institutions and eliminate barriers to student success. Chancellor Shockley wants to change the fact that only about 20% of southern Colorado adults have college degrees, compared to the front-range, where the rate is around 35%.

3. Corporate Partnerships – UCCS has much to teach the other campuses about partnering with business in order to foster student success. As an example, Northrop Grumman, recently named Colorado Springs as one of its elite group of 50 Core University Partners. In making the announcement, one of the Northrop Grumman executives said that UCCS was “a model for universities across the county” in student engagement.

That’s why I love UCCS – It sets an example for the other campuses in Non-Traditional Student Success, Institutional Cooperation and Corporate Partnerships.


Colorado Statesman
February 7, 2014

Colorado’s state legislature has good news for in-state students in proposed Senate Bill 14-001, but it’s not good enough. If this proposal for $100 million in new higher education funding becomes law, the steep downward slide of state support will turn back upward, at least for the next year, and tuition increases will be frozen at 6 percent for two years. However, The Colorado Statesman has it right in its Jan. 31 edition: $100 million is “only a beginning.” As a candidate for the University of Colorado Board of Regents (CD-2) in the November election, I support this proposal. But the question remains: Why has tuition tripled since I graduated from CU?

SB 14-001 will do little to address CU’s long-term fiscal flat-line. By all measures, Colorado ranks among the lowest three states in support for higher education. A single year of increased funding for higher education won’t significantly change that abysmal fact for CU’s four campuses or any of Colorado’s other 24 public colleges and universities. By one measure, Colorado ranks dead last in support per college student — our state invests less per full-time college student at four-year colleges and universities than any other state. (National Center for Higher Education Management Systems)

How does this lack of state support affect today’s student? When I graduated from the CU Journalism School in 1969, I was debt-free despite the fact that my parents could not help me financially. I had a little bit of money from my grandmother and I worked part-time to make ends meet.

Today’s undergraduate student, with the same combination of family support and paid employment, adjusted for inflation, will end up in debt. They can’t work themselves through school. They’ll work and work, but still be saddled with at least $15,000 of debt at a time when good jobs are scarce. Over half of Colorado’s college students now graduate with debt and their average debt is $24,540.

Why is student debt so high today compared to 1969? Because my tuition AND fees were less than $500/year, which translates to about $3,500 in today’s dollars. However, tuition and fees total about $10,000 today — triple what they should be based on inflation.

The facts show, of course, that CU students get a great education at a reasonable price and that college graduation will pay for itself over time in increased earnings. Those facts are small consolation for the student waiting tables at restaurants they can’t afford to frequent or serving lattes they can’t afford to buy.

The reasons why college costs so much more now than it did 40 years ago are complex. Here are the top three causes:

1. Students and parents expect winning athletic teams and fancier facilities. Likewise, employers expect that students have had access to state-of-the art laboratories and expensive computer equipment. Thus, facility and equipment costs are higher today.

2. Administrative costs have significantly increased, as well, due to compliance with new regulations and the costs of serving a more diverse student body. We are lucky at CU. President Bruce Benson’s efficiency efforts have been successful. CU’s campuses are now among the most efficient in the country, spending 3.8 percent of the total budget on administration compared to 6.8 percent among peer institutions.

3. We need to fairly compensate our employees, particularly our best professors. A large portion of the University budget is personnel, many of whom are highly educated people who are, consequently, highly compensated. Higher education costs have escalated in tandem with other service industries with highly compensated employees, such as legal firms and dental offices. None of those businesses have been able to take advantage of cost savings from off-shoring and the Internet available to some other service industries like banking. ( “Why Does College Cost So Much?” by Archibald and Feldman)

So, college costs in Colorado have skyrocketed at a time when state aid for public education has plummeted. When I was an undergraduate, the state contribution totaled about 60 percent of CU’s budget. In 1990, it had fallen to 25 percent; last year it was about 5 percent. What those numbers mean for the average student is that Colorado taxpayers have decided to privatize higher education. They no longer believe that paying a significant amount of tuition for in-state students is a good investment of state funds. The cost for in-state education has shifted to students and parents. Is that what we really want in Colorado?

State support for higher education dates back to the formation of our state. Colorado’s original Constitution provides for the University of Colorado and a popularly elected Board of Regents. State support 40 years ago was not only financial, but also personal — citizens believed that the state’s economy needed its own citizens to be able to afford higher education. I’d like to return to that kind of social compact with Colorado’s citizens. I hope the legislature will take a giant step in that direction this year by passing SB 14-001.


January 31, 2014

I was among the many people who cheered when President Obama called on businesses to raise their employee’s wages during the State of the Union speech Tuesday. Colorado’s minimum wage is $8.00, but the University of Colorado should join other Universities around the county who are raising the minimum wage paid to their employees to $10.10. Today, I call on the Board of Regents to direct staff to investigate the costs and benefits of raising the wages of those employees who are paid the least.

The most recent salary data shows that there were 16,500 non-student regular employees at CU during the 2012-1013 fiscal year. Public information doesn’t indicate how many of those people are paid the minimum wage. However, of that total, 1645, or 10%, made under $20,000 that year. An $8 minimum wage for 40-hours-week and 52 weeks yields an annual total salary of $16,640. At a $10.10 hourly wage, a full time salary increases to $21,008 per year.

I’d like the Regents to direct staff to investigate how many full and part-time employees are paid the minimum wage, what kinds of jobs they do, and what the cost would be to raise their wages to $10.10 for the next fiscal year.

I recognize that CU’s finances are precarious because state aid is so low that it totals only 5% of the budget. However, the pay scales of all employees should align with the values of the institution. All employees are valuable and all employees should be valued. CU struggles, up and down the pay scale, to compensate its employees with wages that are commensurate with what that employee could earn on the open market. Let’s start at the bottom with the lowest paid employees and increase CU’s minimum wage. Then we can investigate some of the other salary problems on campus, particularly the wage disparity between contingent and tenured professors.

For more information on what other campuses are doing regarding the minimum wage, see “Obama’s Call to Raise Minimum Wage Resonates on Campuses” in the Chronicle of Higher Education.


December 3, 2013

Too often on the campaign trail we focus on the negative. For the next few meetings when I speak to you, I am going to do the opposite. I’m going to tell you what I love about each one of CU’s four campuses, starting today, of course, with UC-Denver since you’re meeting here today.

These remarks are based on my interactions with UC-D as a citizen over the past few years. I’m looking forward to learning more about the campus this year and will be meeting with Chancellor Don Elliman next week.

Here are the top three reasons why I love CU-Denver:

1.  Family Ties – Two members of my family have UC-D professional masters degrees. My youngest daughter, Emily Brett, has a Masters of Public Administration and works as the Research Coordinator for the Downtown Denver Partnership. One of my sons-in-law, Peter Goldin, has a Masters in
Educational Leadership and teaches at East High School. They both say they got a great education here.

2.  The campus — This might be the best urban campus in the country. I have to thank those visionary Denver planners who saw the value in putting three campuses together in order to maximize efficiency and student experience. I particularly like the restored historic structures, CU’s new academic building, and your new mascot, Milo the Lynx.

3.  School of Public Affairs — I love SPA because I’m a policy wonk and you are graduating many of the leaders who are so important to the public functioning of our state. The Bell Policy Center, which I co-founded, has a close working relationship with SPA, utilizing doctoral students as fellows and graduates as employees. I love the Buechner Institute, the Wirth Chair Sustainability awards and all the community outreach.

In short, that’s why I love UC-D — family ties, the urban campus and the School of Public Affairs.


November 24, 2013

Hello Democrats. Thanks to everyone who helped make this such a great event. My name is Linda Shoemaker & I’m running for a seat on the CU Board of Regents.

I was a student at Fairview High School 50 years ago when President John F. Kennedy inspired my progressive values. He taught me to think, not of what my community could do for me, but what I could do for my community.

I didn’t have much time to volunteer when I was busy earning a living and raising a family, but JFK’s eternal flame continued to burn within me. Twenty  years ago, I quit practicing law to follow my passion of expanding access to quality public education:

* I helped abused and neglected students as a CASA and impoverished students at I Have a Dream.
* I was elected to the Boulder Valley School Board and served as its President.
* I founded the Bell Policy Center, a think tank and action network that has worked to increase opportunity for all Coloradoans for the past twelve years.
* At the University of Colorado, I’ve been auditing classes, helping recreate the Journalism Program and serving on the Board of Trustees for the CU Foundation raising money for all four campuses.

SO — I’ve seen first hand what CU is like today compared to the 1960’s. I’m a proud CU graduate and the parent of two CU grads. I got a great education and so do students today. However, like JFK, I’m an idealist without illusion. CU has problems and the Regents need to be held accountable to make it more affordable and more accessible.

When I was an undergraduate, tuition was $425/year, that’s $3000 in today’s dollars. Instead, tuition is triple that number, making CU unaffordable for most Colorado families. I worked my way through school with a little family help & graduated debt-free. Today’s student can’t do that; undergraduates with the same combination of family support and work, leave CU with an average of $15,000 in debt.

Tuition has sky-rocketed because state aid has nose-dived. CU now ranks 48th out of the 50 states in funding for higher education. CU is the state’s premier public university; yet the state contributes only 5% of its total budget. The situation is dire, but the Regents must quit balancing the budget with outrageous tuition increases.

I am honored to have the endorsement of so many public officials in this room Senator Udall, Congressman Polis, Regent Neguse. I’m Linda Shoemaker and I’m asking for your vote to serve on the CU Board of Regents.


All four sitting Democratic members of the CU Board of Regents announce endorsements of Shoemaker’s candidacy

October 3, 2013

BOULDER, CO – Today, Democratic CU Regent candidate welcomed the endorsement of all four sitting Democratic CU Regents; Michael Carrigan, Stephen C. Ludwig, Joe Neguse and Irene Griego have all announced their endorsement of Shoemaker’s candidacy.

“Linda is a champion for improving access to education to all Coloradans,” stated Michael Carrigan, CU Regent in Congressional District 1 and the senior Democrat on the Board of Regents. “She will work to make CU more affordable, more accessible and more accountable to everyone in Colorado.  I would be honored to serve with her on the CU Board of Regents”

“I am honored to endorse Linda’s candidacy for CU Regent.  Linda’s dedication to public education and love of CU will be an asset to the board and to our state,“ said current CU Regent for Congressional District 2 Joe Neguse.

Shoemaker welcomes these endorsements, “I’m running for the CU Board of Regents because higher education is the gateway to economic opportunity for many Colorado families, and we need to make sure that it is affordable, accessible and accountable to all of us. I would be honored to work toward these goals alongside such amazing leaders as Michael Carrigan, Stephen C. Ludwig, Irene Griego and with the support of Joe Neguse.

Shoemaker, a former journalist and attorney, has devoted the past 20 years to advancing quality public education in Colorado. Shoemaker was elected and served as President of the Boulder Valley School District Board of Education.  She was the founding Board Chair of the Bell Policy Center, a non-profit think tank committed to making Colorado a state of opportunity for all.

Shoemaker currently serves as President of the Brett Family Foundation, which she co-founded in 2000 with her husband, Steve Brett. The Brett Family Foundation supports Colorado communities by investing in organizations working for social justice, developing non-profit media, and addressing the needs of disadvantaged teens in Boulder County.

Shoemaker lives in Boulder and is married to Steve Brett. They have three children, five grandchildren and a 130-pound Alaskan Malamute named Kodiak.  You can learn more about Linda Shoemaker at


August 8, 2013

BOULDER, CO – Former Boulder Valley School Board President Linda Shoemaker announced today that she will run for the CU Board of Regents in the 2nd Congressional District.

“I am excited to announce my candidacy for CU Regent. My background shows my commitment to the University of Colorado and to an affordable, accessible public education system in Colorado,” said Shoemaker. “I want to continue the strong leadership shown by Regent Joe Neguse. I am a leader who listens but also one who is unafraid to make hard choices.”

Current CU Regent for Congressional District 2 Joe Neguse has endorsed Shoemaker, saying: “I can’t think of anyone better to take my seat as a Regent than Linda. She will courageously fight for the same causes that have defined my tenure – making CU affordable and accessible for all Coloradans, holding the administration accountable and expanding access for students from diverse backgrounds.”

Congressman Jared Polis also endorsed Linda, saying: “Linda has proven her commitment to CU and to helping disadvantaged students complete high school and access higher education. The Regents will be lucky to have someone of Linda’s caliber join them. ”

Shoemaker graduated from CU in 1969 with a degree in journalism and has lived most of the intervening years in the Second Congressional District. Two of her three children are also CU graduates. She resigned her seat on the CU-Boulder Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board August 1st, but is still a member of the CU Foundation Board of Trustees and the CU Advocates.

“Linda is just what the Regents need. She can disagree without being disagreeable; she can lead without being in leadership,” said Former Boulder County Commissioner Josie Heath and the campaign treasurer. “We saw those traits when she was elected to the Boulder Valley School Board, served two years in the minority and then was named President of the Board.”

U.S. Senator and former CD-2 Congressman Mark Udall says he supports Shoemaker because “I have admired Linda’s work on behalf of public education for the past twenty years. Her brand of strong advocacy and collaborative leadership would be an asset to the Board of Regents and the University of Colorado system.”

After working as a journalist and corporate attorney, Linda turned her focus to public education. Before being elected to the BVSD School Board, she was a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate for Abused and Neglected Children). After her School Board tenure, she served on the BVSD Foundation (now Impact on Education) and sponsored 40 low-income students for 12 years through I Have a Dream.

Linda is President of the Brett Family Foundation, which she and her husband Steve Brett co-founded in 2000. In that role, she was the founding Board Chair of the Bell Policy Center, a non-profit research and advocacy group which strives to make Colorado a state of opportunity where all people can build better lives for themselves and their families. Linda agrees with the Bell that “opportunity motivates effort, unleashes the talents of individuals, feeds a dynamic economy and stimulates creativity and invention.”

Linda lives in Boulder and is married to Steve Brett. They have three children, five grandchildren and a 130-pound Alaskan Malamute named Kodiak.


Boulder Daily Camera
November 21, 2010

I’ve had a life-long love affair with journalism. It began when I was editor of the Fairview High School Royal Banner in the turbulent 1960’s, was nurtured at the University of Colorado Journalism School and continued in my working life as a newspaper reporter, business attorney, elected official, and community activist. Today my retired pace allows me the luxury of reading all four of the newsprint newspapers delivered to my doorstep.

I’m proud to say that CU’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication (the “SJMC”) is my alma mater; in so many ways it truly was my “nourishing mother,” which is what alma mater means in Latin. So, it was difficult to read this week’s blaring headline saying the SJMC was closing. My emotions, however, were not quite what I’d expected. I’m more content than conflicted, more relieved than regretful, more sunny than sorrowful.

While I love newspapers and the Journalism School, I understand that journalism is rapidly changing and journalism education must change as well. I support discontinuance as the first step in an exciting reconstruction of journalism education at CU’s Boulder campus to better prepare students for the new media digital world.

The Discontinuance Committee’s Report left little doubt that journalism education will continue in some form at CU Boulder, offering two potential scenarios. I favor Option A, as did the Committee — putting journalism into some new entity rather than merging it into the behemoth that is the College of Arts and Sciences.  A second committee is tasked with determining the specifics of what that new entity might look like. The Information, Communication and Technology (“ICT”) Exploratory Committee will report publically in February. I urge the ICT Committee to create a vibrant new interdisciplinary entity with journalism at its heart.

A new entity offers CU the opportunity to create new administrative structures in order to promote agility and flexibility in both teaching and research. A new entity will make it easier to forge a broad and comprehensive new curriculum drawing from news, advertising, broadcast, communication, business, and technology. Journalism graduates today not only need the fundamental knowledge of the profession, they also need to value innovation and embrace entrepreneurship.

I believe forming a new entity will be particularly valuable for teaching media literacy to non-journalism majors. In the Internet age, everyone needs the analytical skills of a journalist. We all need to be able to evaluate and create messages. We all need to recognize propaganda, bias and manipulation. We all need help separating fact from opinion and determining which sources we can trust and which ones we can’t.

“Creative destruction” is the term often applied to the process of economic innovation and progress that happens when new technologies and businesses disrupt older models. It’s clear that destruction has already occurred when I pick up my beloved newspapers that are but skeletons compared to their former selves. But I’ve come to appreciate the “creative” aspect of that destruction. I’ve learned that what I really love is journalism, not newspapers, and that journalism is thriving online. People will always love content; they’ll crave a good story and they’ll seek the truth.

So, I like to think that closing the SJMC is “creative destruction,” as well. Traditional journalism education needs to end in order for us to reconstruct journalism education for the digital age. The new entity has the potential to be intellectually and technologically innovative, integrating teaching and research across disciplines in ways that have never been done before.

In the words of the College of Information Task Force Report which was issued last spring: “CU has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create an exceptional and unique academic program, one that will serve a critical emerging need of faculty and students, and that will bring new energy, new resources, and new visibility to the University. We believe it imperative that CU seize this opportunity.”