DU Blazes a Trail of Dishonesty, Malfeasance, and Deception

LetsGoDU has learned from several sources that the “Trailblazers” name was to have been a key thematic element in Chancellor Rebecca Chopp’s upcoming State of the University speech. Our sources have also indicated that the “Trailblazers” concept was not only a speech theme but was likely the intended seed of a Trojan horse replacement for DU’s 93-year-old nickname “Pioneers”.

In the days since we exposed DU’s recent mask policy as a politically-motivated tool intended largely to ban the unofficial mascot Denver Boone from campus, the University’s honesty and intentions regarding our 93-year old nickname “Pioneers” have also come into serious question. Our sources tell us that while the administration disdained the word “Pioneers” as traditional and western, they saw the concept of “Trailblazers” as being an acceptable replacement.

It seems that DU’s senior leaders were not only actively working to slice DU from its western traditions, they were doing it through a covert web of lies, deception, and disdain for DU’s largest constituency – its alumni. Indeed, the malfeasance of senior leadership daily continues to draw DU into further disrepute.

We have written previously about Renell Wynn, DU’s Vice Chancellor for Communications, who advised key alumni of the so-called “mask” policy only AFTER the policy was a fait accompli – already approved by members of the Board of Trustees. Wynn’s use of “safety” as her cover story for the policy backfired when Don Enloe, DU’s Director of Campus Safety, admitted to the Denver Post that other schools’ mascots would be allowed inside Magness Arena (while Denver Boone would be banned from his home arena by the policy). Interestingly, we haven’t heard a single quote or release from Wynn since this story broke, and she’s Vice-Chancellor for Communications. Hmmm…

We also have drawn into doubt the credibility of Dr. Liliana Rodriguez and Dr. Frank Tuitt, the “inclusive excellence” leaders who co-authored the “smoking gun” anti-Boone letter of January 2017, which assured students that “procedures” were being created to eliminate Boone. It is also important to note that in the original version of the “mask” policy posted in late December 2017 on the DU website, Rodriguez’s office was to be the contact point for requesting exceptions to the policy — until the exception language mysteriously disappeared in an Orwellian puff of smoke before January 1, 2018.

Rodriguez also likely had a key role in encouraging her staff to work with student groups such as Undergraduate Student Government (USG) and the Native Student Association (NSA) to create new mascots and to actively campaign against the Pioneer nickname, respectively. By actively promoting disunity and division, such acts were over-reaching, manipulative and wedge-driving. Indeed, such activities appear to be less those of “inclusive excellence” and more those of “exclusive insolence”.

Now, we also question the credibility of Ed Rowe, the Chancellor’s Director of Special Projects, whose e-mail replies to angry alumni have further eroded trust. Indeed, the inauthentic form e-mails and awkward language in his some of his talking points are suggestive of obfuscation, rather than honesty.

  1. Ed Rowe Talking Point: “That [nickname] rumor is false”

That’s an incomplete statement if we’ve ever seen one. Are the Chancellor and Board of Trustees committed to the identity “Denver Pioneers” going forward or not?

  1. Ed Rowe Talking Point: “The Chancellor and Board have affirmed our use of Pioneers”

It is obvious to anyone that the words “have affirmed” is in the past tense. And what does the phrasing “use of Pioneers” mean? Does it mean we have “used” the term in the past, but it may be changing now? What we need to know is, are we Pioneers going forward or not?

  1. Ed Rowe Talking Point: “DU is proud of the ways our faculty conduct pioneering research and pave the way in student-centered education focused on the public good”

Here ‘pioneer’ is being used as a verb, suggesting that while we are being ‘pioneering’, we may not be ‘Pioneers’. Not only does this avoid the question of commitment to Pioneers, it actually appears to be laying a path to the concept of being ‘Trailblazers’ rather than ‘Pioneers.’ We aren’t asking about research. We are asking: Are we Pioneers going forward or not?

  1. Ed Rowe Talking Point: “Denver Pioneers create new companies and nonprofits, they find new solutions to complex problems and they are committed to making the world a better place.”

Can you please answer our questions instead of trying to snow us with platitudes? DU must think we’re children! What we want to know is: Are we Pioneers now and forever? 

Finally, where have the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees been while key senior team members have been running a harmful agenda, creating disingenuous policies, avoiding the alumni, trying to erase the western history from our traditions and writing meaningless and obfuscating communications?

We deserve better than this, DU.  We entrust our leaders to provide stewardship, honesty, and competence. And there can be no grey area where it concerns honesty.

According to the DU website, “All members of the University of Denver are expected to uphold the values of Integrity, Respect, and Responsibility. These values embody the standards of conduct for students, faculty, staff, and administrators as members of the University community. 

“Our [DU] values are defined as:
    * Integrity: acting in an honest and ethical manner;
    * Respect: honoring differences in people, ideas, and opinions;
    * Responsibility: accepting ownership for one’s own conduct.”

As engaged alumni, we’ve observed what may be lot of potential violations of these values.

DU, you have let us down.

Now is the time for alumni and fans to let our school know where we stand on this issue.

Readers: Please let the Board of Trustees know how you feel in the most cogent, well-written way you can at Boardoftrustees@DU.edu and cc your emails to alumni@du.edu.

18 thoughts on “DU Blazes a Trail of Dishonesty, Malfeasance, and Deception”

  1. Time for a top to bottom audit of Student Life and Inclusive Excellence. Don’t be surprised if there is a ‘paper trail’ that confirms a calculated assault on not only Denver Boone and Pioneers but fraternities as well. None of this is by accident – this is proof. It is all about social engineering, not education.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I would suggest buying stock in Shred-it this week. These people should be fearing for their careers. And where is the Clarion? They should be asking questions of their leaders instead of sitting on the sidelines, unless of course, they are in on the inclusive excellence mafia, or terrified of those bullies….


  2. I have sent emails to all of the parties involved in this train wreck. Ed Rowe responded to my first emails with the talking points outlined in this article. After he exhausted his talking points, it has been crickets from Ed. I suspect that he has figured out that we are on to him and he didn’t have a plausible response. I have yet to hear from the Chancellor (no surprise) or the inclusive excellence czars. They have been caught in their web of deception. As I have said before, they underestimated our resolve. I have no intention of turning my back on 50 years as a Pioneer.

    Once again, I urge everyone so send an email to the parties involved and let them know your thoughts. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear from them, I think they are in “crisis mode” at this point and they are trying to figure out how to deal with the uprising.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. We need some administrative leadership from DU to address the trust gap between that seems to be widening here between the leadership and alumni. DU needs to lead, not cover up. They need to admit their mistakes, tell us what they are going to do about fixing them and start realizing that their alumni aren’t a bunch of sheep…

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I would not be too harsh on Mr. Rowe. He’s the one that is actually responding to people, and clarifying some things. It may not be the level of clarity that we all want, but I think he is trying. To the extent that his responses don’t provide all the answers, that’s probably not his fault. I agree that DU should do more to clarify, rather than letting LetsGoDU be the only voice heard on these matters. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Come on, people. You’re being played. They think they are smarter than you because the echo chamber they occupy is filled with sycophants. They avoid you, they go around you and when you do stumble onto their evil plans, they just pat you on the head with bromides and half-truths. This is how it’s done in higher ed- nothing but paid bullies with PhDs who don’t care about you or your school or your traditions, as they just get in the way of their plan to engineer their little bubbles to protect themselves. Rise up, or you’ll just be roadkill…

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Our daughter is a senior. I would have pulled her out if it was her first year or two. DU needs to show some leadership here and clean up the mess. It seems like another day, another revelation – when will it stop?

    This is why LetsGoDU is so important. Just do the right thing DU and restore Boone and stop the efforts to distance yourself from ‘Pioneers’. Focus on the BIG stuff.


    Liked by 3 people

  6. Next Board of Trustees meeting should be very illuminating. Lots of talking points by way of Alumni emails. Think it’s coming up on Friday.

    Any chance of getting it telecast on PioVision for $19.95? Good opportunity for DU to pocket a little change to make up for recently lost donations.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. D Flight : you nailed it in just a few sentences. D.U is just a step in their elitist career path to a higher position at another school. If Chopp lands an Ivy presidency some will follow her there.
    They will chuckle as they commiserate with their fellow enlightened colleagues about how the unsophisticated alumni just wouldn’t let go of their old fashioned divisive name– Pioneer.

    This reminds me of something that I saw in print just yesterday.
    You’re drunk when you think you’re sophisticated but can’t pronounce it.
    Maybe some of our sophisticated D.U. leaders need to visit the Pioneer and try that out.


  8. To recap for those joining the Party late…

    DU lied about why Mask Ban was implemented

    DU lied in their memo that, “Many people were offended by Boone”

    DU lied when they denied that upper administrators wanted to change the Pioneer nickname to Trailblazers

    DU lied & then had to retract a Facebook Posting about John Evans & his role in the Sand Creek Massacre

    DU lied AGAIN when they replied to alums saying the Trailblazer nickname rumors are False


  9. I would imagine that the administration is feeling some heat right now. The wait-it-out strategy isn’t working very well. Alumni are getting madder the longer they drag it out. Chancellors want smooth board meetings, too. If I were her, I would make a public statement about the nickname and mascot situation before the Board faces her at the end of this week.

    Letting the Board know how we feel is really important right now.


  10. …And my daughter loves Boone – just like the rest of the kids at games. Drop the ban, admit you were in cahoots and reinstate the mascot.

    Leave the kids some crumbs for godsakes!


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