Best campaign gimmick: Ludwig spent 10 days of his vacation visiting all of Colorado’s 64 counties touting his at-large campaign for re-election…and more often than not, explaining to people what a “regent” is and that you can vote for one regardless of whether you attended a CU system school.
Accomplishments: Ludwig cites his efforts to help pass a measure that guarantees that community college students who maintain a 2.7 GPA and completed 30 credit hours will be admitted to a CU school. He also notes that CU set records for fundraising and the value of research grants while he has been on the board.
Most pressing issue: “By 2023, there will be no money for public education in Colorado,” he says. “The state is heading for a brick wall. That’s what the next six years will be.” It’s inevitable not only that regents will have to go to the voters for additional revenue (i.e., taxes), but also that the university system find efficiencies in such things as an increase in online education, better technology transfer and increased partnerships with the private sector.
Favors: Banning guns on campus and offering the children of illegal immigrants special tuition rates.
Dr. Brian Davidson–Republican
Best medical analogy: When a patient is on life support, you want a doctor nearby—and CU’s fiscal health qualifies it for the ICU. An MD grad of the Anshutz Medical Campus (who also holds an MBA), Davidson knows firsthand the burden of student debt since he’s still paying his.
Big picture: Davidson argues that skyrocketing tuition has downstream effects that aren’t often debated—crushing debt leads to contraction in spending and fewer alumni donations to their alma maters.
The treatment: Davidson favors a combination of efficiencies and new revenues and touts how Anshutz does business as an example moving forward: “I come from an area of the university where the faculty … elects to provide, off of revenues, 15 percent back to the institute. …I’m very proud to be a part of that group of people that not only teach, but we practice [medicine], and we also contribute tens of millions back to the institution to keep it a quality institution.”
Defining characteristic: For all of his earnestness, it’s hard not to consider Belmont a joke candidate who entered the race on a lark. At only 18 years old, he hopes to help run a university system with a $2.9 billion budget, although he has no website, hasn’t raised or spent any money on his campaign and as of mid-September hadn’t given any speeches or attended any campaign events. He explained that he’s been busy applying to colleges (including non-CU colleges in other states) and is “realistic” about his chances.
On the other hand: Belmont has a point that younger voices aren’t often heard among the Regents, and with tuition rising as a result of funding cuts, those who are shouldering the burden deserve to be heard.
Prospects: Belmont stands no hope of being elected Regent, but with a philosophy that he defined as “jump[ing] at the opportunity to learn about the political system and gain real world experience about how things work,” don’t assume you’ve heard the last of him.
Claim to fame: What’s a 53-year-old college student who lives in off-campus student housing to do other than run for CU Regent for the third time (other than star in a reality TV version of “Old School,” that is)? A self-described “longshot” for the post, Ong is inspired to run again (his first campaigns were in 2004 and 2006) to raise awareness about what he calls the university’s discrimination against part-time students. He calls the issue “tuition equity,” which at its heart is CU-Boulder’s policy of charging a flat per-semester tuition for part-time and full-time students, rather than the per credit-hour rate charged by CU-Denver and CU-Colorado Springs.
Cuts: Ong would eliminate student athletic fees to help cut expenses and explore eliminating a requirement that the faculty spend 20 percent of its time doing community service, forcing them to spend more time in the classroom.
Best reason to vote for him: If you agree with him that “the current board has failed miserably in its job.”
YS Endorsement: Stephen Ludwig
This was a tough race to call, as both major party candidates strike us as competent and capable of tackling the substantial challenges faced by the CU system in the coming years. In the end, our endorsement goes to Stephen Ludwig, who makes a credible case that his experience as an incumbent (and his proven willingness to travel the state to put meaning behind the term “at-large”) gives him the edge over Brian Davidson.