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University of Colorado Board of Regents minutes

Identifier: COU:3440

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of the minutes and the exhibits appended to the minutes for the years between 1876 and 1997.


  • Creation: 1876 - 2008

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Copyright Statement

The University Libraries may not own the copyright to all materials in this collection. Researchers are responsible for contacting the copyright holder(s) for this material and obtaining permission to publish or broadcast. The University Libraries will not grant permission to publish or broadcast this material and are not responsible for copyright violations resulting from such use.

Biographical / Historical

The University of Colorado and its governing body, the Board of Regents, were established by the Constitution of the State of Colorado in 1876. The Constitution provided considerable autonomy to the University by delegating the responsibility for its control to an elected Board of Regents. During its first 25 years, the board was called upon to discuss and approve faculty appointments, the gradual development of the early campus, the erection of new buildings, the creation of the graduate school, the medical school, the law school and other colleges.

The Board of Regents appear to have adopted the first statues of the university in 1898, during their May 30th, meeting. These statues, of which the Laws of the Regents were a part, were amended and published in 1909, 1911, 1913, 1915, 1927, and continuously thereafter. The offices of secretary and treasurer of the Board were Board-appointed positions, filled by non-Board mebmers. Aside from those duties prescribed by Colorado statue, the secretary was directed to "collect, record, and account for all dues to the University, and turn the same over to the treasurer." By 1927, collection, recording, and accounting for the dues of the University had passed from the duties explicitly stated in the statutes.

The Board appeared to have worked very closely and amiably with Presidents Livingston Farrand (1913-1917), George Norlin (1917-[1919-1939]), and Robert Stearns (1939-1953), all of whom seemed to have the full confidence and support of the Regents. Presidents Ward Darley (1953-1956) and Quigg Newton (1956-1963), in their own ways, began an era where such agreement between the President and the Board members could no longer be taken for granted. Darley's attempt to address fraternity and sorority discrimination against minorities brought the Board of Regents under fire from conservative elements in the press and public. Newton, whose perceived liberalism and Democratic Party affiliation put him at odds with Republicans on the Board, encountered disagreements and the Regents over: his hiring of professors; his firing of football coach Sonny Grandelius fro NCAA violations; and his handling of the Barry Goldwater/Colorado Daily affair.

Contention which had pitted Board members against presidents, faculty, or students did not subside with Newton's resignation. During the period between 1965 and 1974, the Board of Regents found itself confronted with quarrels over a full range of questions relating to the in loco parentis style of supervising students. While the subject could have been police harassment, the war in Vietnam, or racial discrimination, the real issues at hand were the students' claims to the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the rights of majority. One of the key problems faced by the Board was inherent in its make-up. The six member number of the Board created difficulites during periods of intense political partisanship. The president's ex officio status on the Board, as well as his role as tie-breaking vote, caused substantial friction on the Board.

In the November 1972 election, the passage of amendments to articles VIII and IX of the Constitution of the State of Colorado ushered in a new era for the Board of Regents. The number of Regents increased from six to nine in an attempt to avoid the sorts of politcial disputes of the 1960s. Along the same lines and for the same reason, presidents lost their ex officio status, as well as their tie-breaking votes. Moreover, in a crucial phrase left off of the short form of the voters, "unless otherwise provided by law" was added to the paragraph relating to governing boards of the state institutions of higher learning, which was interpreted by the attorney genreal as placing deciding power in the hands of the legislature.

In 1974, the University of Colorado became a four campus "multi-versity" with campuses in Boulder, Denver, the Health Sciences Center, and Colorado Springs. Campus contention began to die down, lowering the political temperature of the Board. The nine member Board did not seem to elicit the type of political splits that had appeared prior to 1972. In addition, Presidents Roland Rautenstraus (1975-1979), Arnold Weber (1980-1984), William Baughn (1984-85, 1991), and E. Gordon Gee (1985-1991) worked well with the Board in their efforts to computerize, upgrade, and gain financial support for the University. Political tensions have continued to underly the relationship between the Regents, President, and the campuses' Chancellors.

The Secretary of the Board of Regents is responsible for compiling minutes.


108 linear feet

Language of Materials



The University of Colorado and its governing body, the Board of Regents, were established by the Constitution of the State of Colorado in 1876. This collection consists of the minutes and the exhibits appended to the minutes for the years between 1876 and 1997.

Processing Information

The titles for each volume included in the inventory reflect the titles written on the binding. All material is from the University of Colorado Board of Regents.

Ashlyn Velte
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries, Rare and Distinctive Collections Repository

1720 Pleasant Street
184 UCB
Boulder Colorado 80503 United States