Daily Camera Sues CU Over Finalist List For University President

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Mark Kennedy answers audience questions Wednesday April 24, 2019 at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. Kennedy is the only finalist for the position of president at the University of Colorado. He's visiting all the campuses in the university system.

The Boulder Daily Camera filed a lawsuit Monday seeking the names of finalists in the University of Colorado's search for a new system president.

The suit, filed in Denver District Court, seeks to compel the university to publicize the identities of five candidates interviewed by regents, the newspaper reported.

Mark Kennedy was approved May 2 as the replacement for retiring President Bruce Benson with a 5-4 vote by the university's Board of Regents.

Kennedy is a former president of the University of North Dakota and the only candidate who was publicly identified by the University of Colorado.

"It's been the practice here for the past four presidents dating back 20 years," Ken McConnellogue, a spokesman for the president's office, said of the decision to release only the name of the sole finalist.

He told The Associated Press that candidates for the position should have an expectation of confidentiality and releasing their names could jeopardize their current jobs.

The university refused two separate requests in May and July under the Colorado Open Records Act asking for finalists' names, the newspaper reported.

"The public has the right to know the names of the other five finalists interviewed by the regents as outlined in the CORA statute," said Julie Vossler-Henderson, The Daily Camera's central news editor.

A university official previously cited two statutory provisions, arguing they protected the university from disclosure of the records of anyone who is not a finalist. That set up a debate over whether a finalist is categorized as the successful individual named by the university or the final six candidates who advanced to the final round of interviews.