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Cut Here: Colorado State University – Pueblo’s budget crisis so far

Dropping attendance, tuition freezes, questionable emails, the System’s $5 million infusion, a Denver campus and 41 positions eliminated with 22 job cuts… this is Colorado State University — Pueblo’s Budget Crisis so far.



ince the announcement late in the fall semester that Colorado State University-Pueblo was facing a budget deficit that would force layoffs, a storm of backlash has taken over the university and doesn’t seem like it will end soon. 

On January 6th, Chancellor Martin visited CSU-Pueblo in order to explain why it was essential that CSU-Pueblo fire 50 employees. According to Martin, one of the ways the school would be able to fix its $3.3 million budget deficit was to layoff faculty and staff. 

As would be expected, many faculty and staff were unhappy about this news, but Professor  of Sociology Timothy McGettigan made his disapproval for the announcement public in a big way. 

A chain of emails started to be sent to all faculty, staff and students following this announcement through the university’s email system, explaining to anyone who would read them what was happening and how McGettigan viewed the situation. 

McGettigan even helped to announce and set up two rallying events on January 16 and 17 to peacefully protest the job cuts.

The rally on January 16 at Sister City Plaza in Pueblo demonstrated a collective front against the proposed budget cuts and layoffs at the university. A crowd of more than 50 people cheered the speakers, waved signs and showcased a huge red and blue banner that said “Save CSU-Pueblo.”

Speakers included students, instructors and community members who oppose the cuts and felt CSU Chancellor Michael Martin does not have Southern Colorado’s best interests in mind.

However, nothing was viewed as a controversy until professor McGettigan sent his last email titled “The Children of Ludlow” that started a larger dispute at the university than just the potential 50 job cuts.

McGettigan compared the job cuts to that of the Ludlow Massacre of 1914, where the National Guard and Colorado Fuel and Iron Company fired upon a tent colony of 1,200 striking coal miners, which included men, women and children.

In the email McGettigan wrote, “In recompense for this unpardonable sin, CSU Chancellor Michael Martin has assembled a hit list . . . to terminate the 50 people who are on his hit list. In his own way, Michael Martin is putting a gun to the head of those 50 hard-working people while he also throws a burning match on the hopes and dreams of their helpless, defenseless families.”

McGettigan compared the way the central system administration was treating Pueblo to the bloody way coal mine owners treated their workers 100 years ago, and how, like a century ago, those without power were being mistreated. 

Hours after he sent this email, however, the university system deactivated his email account, claiming in a letter written by CSU Deputy General Counsel, Johnna Doyle, that the Ludlow email had violated the university’s Electronic Communications Policy, by electronically intimidating, threatening and harassing individuals with that email. 

McGettigan said that the deactivation of his university email made it impossible for him to do his job since the Blackboard account for his courses is based on the university email. 

CSU-Pueblo would later publicly defend its disciplinary action against McGettigan in a statement released to “Inside Higher Ed.”

“CSU-Pueblo is facing some budget challenges right now, which has sparked impassioned criticism and debate across our campus community,” said President Di Mare in the statement, “Considering the lessons we’ve all learned from Columbine, Virginia Tech, and more recently Arapahoe High School, I can only say that the security of our students, faculty and staff are our top priority.”

The way in which CSU-Pueblo President Di Mare defended the university’s  actions were not warmly received either. 

After President Di Mare released this statement, the Colorado Conference of the American Association of University Professors, and the CSU-Pueblo Faculty Senate both voiced their disapproval for the continuing situation. 

The AAUP rejected the statement released by CSU-Pueblo, including the statement released by Di Mare, saying that Di Mare was reckless for her statement, comparing McGettigan’s email to that of the Columbine, Virginia Tech and Arapahoe high school shootings. 

“While any university president is obligated to insure the physical safety of their university community, associating peaceful and legitimate dissent with the violent intentions of deranged gunmen is the very height of absurdity and reveals an appalling lack of professional judgment in a university president,” said the statement released by the AAUP. 

“If she really thinks I was a threat, then deactivating my email would not have stopped anything such as a school shooting,” said McGettigan in an earlier interview regarding the email deactivation and Di Mare’s statement released afterwards.

Since then, the AAUP has made requests to acquire documents from the university under the Colorado Open Records Act.  These documents included a vast number of emails, charts and other documents concerning the budget at CSU-Pueblo. In one of these emails it was revealed that Chancellor Martin knew of the budget problems facing the university.

“If they can’t articulate a plan to save themselves, they aren’t a ‘meaningful regional university’ anyhow,” Martin wrote in one email sent in March 2013. What Martin wrote in this email would appear to only add to the distaste of Martin’s plan to save the university and the perceived disinterest Martin shows for CSU-Pueblo.

In addition to the AAUP receiving these emails, the Faculty Senate at CSU-Pueblo has also taken steps to voice its contempt towards the administration at CSU-Pueblo, particularly Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Carl Wright.

The letter said it was crucial that the Faculty Senate share its concerns with the provost to enhance communication and strengthen the shared governance at the university, something that appears to have been missing over the past few months. 

The Faculty Senate highlighted four particular areas of concern in this letter to the provost, which included a perceived inadequate and inconsistent communication, a perceived lack of familiarity with CSU-Pueblo, a lack of guidance and an unwillingness to work with faculty. 

In this letter the Faculty Senate specifically discussed how Provost Wright needs to establish a better communication with faculty, be visibly present for the faculty, provide ongoing information about initiatives, such as the South Metro Denver Campus, and explain how the budget cuts improve success. 

The latest event to occur in the CSU-Pueblo budget saga is that the CSU Board of Governors voted unanimously on February 14, to give CSU-Pueblo $5 million to help the university balance the budget.

However, the school must still continue with its plans to reduce expenses by $3.3 million for the 2014-15 fiscal year, which includes job cuts of 19 vacant staff positions and 22 existing positions. 

This $5 million comes after CSU-Pueblo made cuts to its budget by eliminating a total of 41 positions, 22 of which are currently filled.

“I am certainly a supporter of higher education, and it concerns me with the job losses,” said Pueblo City Council Member, Ami Nawrocki. “When you are talking about people losing their jobs it affects the entire community.”  

Certainly one would think that the continuing budget controversy at CSU-Pueblo is coming to an end, but with faculty, staff and students fighting for their voices to be heard, it may be awhile until we see the conclusion to this saga. 

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Denver’s Wes Watkins dynamic new future-funk EP is from another planet




Future-Funk Party Starter | Wes Watkins

Dreams Out from Denver’s best kept secret Wes Watkins wears so many musical hats it needs a rack; downtempo G-Funk homage and sweltering nee-Soul / Rn’B are all over this release, all covered with a thicc pop glaze and a penchant for electronic-sonic experimentation that keep every song fascinatingly adventurous while maintaining a danceability and groove that easily, easily warrants multiple listens. Don’t sleep on this one.

Lo-Fuzz Folkie | Hoi Ann

The beauty of Hoi Ann’s Tangenier lies in both what you can hear and what it may want you to not hear. Lo-fi folk and bedroom-pop are easily tangible on its surface, but the buzzy electronic tones that sparingly flourish the 5 songs of this release lie low and create a unique aural atmosphere for listeners, like hidden secrets for your ears only.

Indie-Punk Sweeties | Gestalt

The pop-punk shred-bois in Gestalt are back at it again; The irresistible combo of the Get Up Kids earnest midwestern-emo and smart pop-punk wit of the Wonder Years is strong on the tracks that encompass LongBoix, as is an acute fondness and growing appreciation for the finer indie rock of yesteryear. Well I guess this is growing up.

Psych-Rock Screamcore | Gone Full Heathen

On their criminally good self titled EP, Fort Collins heavies Gone Full Heathen friggin dare you to try and trap them in a single genre. Nice try, but they’ll just chew right through your puny ropes using a gnashing blend of crushing stoner-rock laced hardcore punk and overdriven psych-rock / post-metal induced bite like the righteous rock and roll wolves that they are.

All releases available for purchase now thru Bandcamp. Go Local!

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The Haze Craze for Lazy Days



There are many different styles of beer. Ranging from light lagers (think Bud Light) and ales to sours, stouts, and IPAs.

Within those styles, however, are varying styles.

For example, one would think a sour beer is a sour beer, right? Wrong. According to the Beer Judge Certification Program, which defines every style of beer, there are six recognized European sour styles.

For IPAs, there are seven. American beers have four; stouts have three… You get the point.

Even with viewing the list of recognized styles, it’s not a complete list.

Take New England IPAs (NE IPA), as a prime example. Many breweries are currently mass producing this style of beer, and it’s selling like crazy.

You may have heard one of your annoying beer loving friends talk about drinking a “juice bomb,” or a requesting a “hazy IPA” at the pub, and shrugged it off. It turns out, they (sometimes) know what they are talking about.

What makes NE IPAs so popular when compared to a more traditional, West Coast IPA? NE IPAs have all of the hop flavors, without an overabundance of bitterness.

Instead of constantly adding hops throughout the boil to achieve a fruity flavor balanced by bitterness, the NE IPA has a small hop addition at the begging, and then nothing else until after the boil has finished.

That translates into a beer with very little bitterness, and plenty of hop aroma and flavor. Hops like Citra, Mosaic, Mosaic, Galaxy, and El Dorado are most common in NE IPAs, according to the Homebrewers Association. Those hops tend to impart a fruity, and dare I say, juicy flavor profile.

Between the juicy flavor and the seemingly natural haziness to NE IPAs, it’s not far fetched for an NE IPA to look like a tall glass of orange or grapefruit juice, only carbonated and full of alcohol.

NE IPAs are starting to gain momentum here in Colorado, with breweries turning their focus to the haze craze. Specifically, Odd13, WeldWerks, and Epic Brewing coming to mind.

Odd13 is based in Lafayette, Colo. and has a long list of NE-inspired IPAs constantly rotating through the tap room and distributed throughout the state. Codename: Super fan and Noob are two beers that are found in cans, and both offer a different approach to the haze craze.

WeldWerks is based in Greeley, Colo. and has accumulated a cult-like following in just a few short years for its Juicy Bits NE IPA. The brewery just started self-distributing locally, so you’ll have to make the trip to the brewery and pick up a crowler or four. Be sure to check the WeldWerks Facebook page for availability and limits. Yes, they have to place per person limits on how much you can purchase.

Epic Brewing recently announced its NE IPA, which will rotate between four different flavor profiles throughout the year. The cans will look the same but will be different colors as a quick way to tell identify which version you have.

So the next time you walk into a brewery or liquor store, it’s OK to ask for a hazy or juicy IPA. It’s a thing, and, frankly, they are damn good.

On Tap: By the time this hits newsstands, ThunderZone Pizza & Taphouse will have opened on the CSU-P campus. Located at 2270 Rawlings Blvd., the ThunderZone features 32 taps, a carefully curated tap list, and is locally owned.

At the opening, the tap list includes tasty brews from the likes of Florence Brewing and Lost Highway.

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Senators upend GOP health care bill in true Trump style… Twitter



WASHINGTON — When Sens. Mike Lee and Jerry Moran decided they were in ready to disrupt the GOP rewrite of the health care law, they chose President Donald Trump’s favorite medium.

They could not support Senate Republicans’ plan, the somewhat unlikely pair of conservatives tweeted at 8:30 p.m. Monday night, giving no heads up to the White House or Senate leaders before pressing send.

The story behind the statement reveals two senators willing to be branded as bill killers and seemingly unconcerned with trying to soften the blow with party leaders.

The announcement, coming after some 10 days of conversations between the men, stunned official Washington and left Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at least two votes short in the closely divided Senate from being able to move forward with the GOP bill, effectively sinking the measure. It landed shortly after Trump dined with a group of senators to discuss strategy – unwittingly plotting a plan that would immediately become outdated.

Sen. John Cornyn, the second-ranking Republican leader, found out about Lee’s defection after the White House dinner of rosemary-grilled rib eye and summer vegetable succotash. He “had no idea it was coming,” Cornyn said.

Another Republican, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, found out from TV news.

Moran, a second-term lawmaker from Kansas who isn’t known for making waves, and Lee, a two-term senator from Utah who has clashed with Trump, have been talking over the past 10 days about the health care legislation and agreed the GOP bill did not go far enough to repeal Obamacare or address rising health-care costs. They decided to announce their position to make the bill’s fate clear and allow senators to move on, Moran said.

“It could have been prolonged for days or weeks while no one said anything,” Moran said in an interview.

Moran, who oversaw the Senate Republicans’ 2014 election campaigns, concluded last week he wouldn’t vote for the latest version of the bill but “gave myself a weekend in Kansas to think about it,” he said.

Lee had helped draft an amendment, along with fellow conservative Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, that would allow insurers to sell skimpy plans alongside more robust ones to lower costs. Cruz agreed to some changes in wording by GOP leaders, but Lee thought the new language allowed too many Obama-era regulations to remain in place.

After talking again, Moran and Lee agreed Monday night on a statement drafted earlier in the day. They issued their statement shortly after a White House dinner attended by seven GOP senators – all likely yes votes on the health care bill. Neither Lee nor Moran attended.

A Lee spokesman said the statement – and its timing – “had nothing to do with the White House dinner. It was not a reaction in any way.”

The statement was made public as soon as it was ready, the spokesman said.

Neither Trump nor McConnell received advance warning about the statement, although it’s likely that neither the president nor the Senate leader was completely surprised.

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence spent the weekend calling lawmakers, including Lee and at least seven other GOP senators, according to the administration. Trump talked politics, while Pence discussed policy.

Trump called Lee on Saturday, and Lee told the president he was leaning against the bill, for the reasons he later made public.

Lee told Utah’s KSL Newsradio that he had a great conversation with Trump, when he told the president his “consumer freedom” amendment had been weakened and that he wasn’t sure that he could support the bill.

“He was encouraging to me and said, you know, ‘Just see what changes you can make to it,’ ” Lee said.

Lee and McConnell did not talk over the weekend, but Lee spoke twice to Cornyn, R-Texas, the majority whip.

Trump, who frequently takes to Twitter to announce proposals or denounce opponents, was blindsided by, of all things, a tweet.

He told reporters Tuesday he was “very surprised when the two folks came out last night, because we thought they were in fairly good shape. But they did. And, you know, everybody has their own reason.”

Moran said while he remained committed to repealing the health care law, Congress needs to make a “fresh start” on writing a replacement bill in an “open legislative process.”

“We should not put our stamp of approval on bad policy,” he said, in a statement that followed the tweet.

In his own statement, Lee said the GOP bill does not repeal all the Obamacare tax increases and “doesn’t go far enough in lowering premiums for middle class families; nor does it create enough free space from the most costly Obamacare regulations.”

Both explanations were issued on social media.

“Twitter is a nice medium to get your message out,” Lee’s spokesman said.

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