The University of Colorado Board of Regents on Wednesday approved a $1.3 million exit package for outgoing system president Mark Kennedy, Colorado Public Radio reported.
The compensation package, which passed with an 8-to-1 vote, will cover the remainder of Kennedy’s contract, which was scheduled to run through June 2022. His starting salary was $650,000, and it increased to $850,000 in subsequent years.
Kennedy announced two weeks ago that he will leave in July after two years as president of the four-campus university system. His announcement followed a switch in party control of the public university system's board, which is now majority Democratic.
Several board members addressed the partisan split following Wednesday’s board meeting.
Heidi Ganahl, an at-large Republican member of the board, said Kennedy was being fired for “not being a Democrat or left-wing academic.”
Sue Sharkey, also a Republican regent, called the buyout shameful and said it was a waste of taxpayer money, CPR reported. She also said that “conservatives are not welcome at the University of Colorado.”
Democratic regent Nolbert Chavez said that Kennedy’s departure was not about partisanship. Chavez and regent John “Jack” Kroll both said that the university system has been well served by Republican presidents in the past.