At a recent luncheon, University of Colorado Regent Heidi Ganahl outlined her work, both at CU and off campus, to educate students about conservative priorities, which she believes are often under-emphasized or under attack in American culture and education.
Ganahl, a member of the 5-4 Republican majority on the CU’s governing Board of Regents, held a Q&A at the Nov. 20 luncheon hosted by the Lincoln Club of Colorado, a Republican organization with a mission “to promote the educational and social programs of the Republican Party and to support the election of Republican candidates.”
Listen to Heidi Ganahl’s comments here beginning at [12:45].
Ganahl talked about her new business, The SheFactor, “a digital and live platform” that helps young women figure out how to navigate the opportunities they enjoy in America.
“It’s also a way for us to give young women a different message than they hear in the media, in entertainment, and in education. You better bet we are talking about free markets, free speech, individual rights, personal responsibility, all those things that we’re so passionate about,” said Ganahl at the luncheon. “We’re just not doing it as an overt political organization. But we’re making sure that happens and that those conversations are happening.”
Apart from SheFactor, Ganahl has been attempting to promote free speech on campus, which she believes is being stifled at CU.
“It’s not necessarily the faculty who are doing the bullying and causing the issues in the class; it’s the other students. I hear that way more than I hear problems with faculty,” said Ganahl in regards to students with conservative opinions being silenced in class. “What I hear is that a student will speak up about an issue if they’re concerned, and they’ll be bullied or shunned or quieted by the rest of the students, or ridiculed. And that they won’t wanna talk about it again.”
In response, Ganahl is pushing to make a civics course mandatory for CU students.
“Our students are not learning what they need to learn about how our government works, and how our country works, and why American is such an amazing grand experiment, and still is, I think,” argued Ganahl. “So, our idea was to create a requirement that every student should have to take a civics course.”
Ganahl highlighted that she wants these civics courses to teach the foundations of civics such as the electoral college and the workings of Congress, not social justice civics.
Additionally, Ganahl helped initiate a program to bring debates to CU, the first one occurring in the Spring of 2018 between Nigel Farage, a British UKIP politician responsible for helping to initiate Brexit, and Vicente Fox, former President of Mexico, to debate globalism and nationalism.
“I even heard some kids say, ‘That Nigel guy is kind of cool. He’s funny. I kind of get what he is saying about, you know, nationalism.’ So we did our job,” said Ganahl, who is one of only two Republicans occupying statewide offices after last year’s Democratic victories in Colorado.
On the topics of substance abuse and sexual assault on campus, Ganahl suggested that parents and resident advisors should pay special attention to students in the “red zone,” the first six or so weeks of freshman year when students are most likely to suffer from overdoses and sexual assaults.
In discussion of a survey conducted across the CU campuses, Ganahl stated that “28 percent of students at CU said that they had been sexually assaulted, but it included all kinds of things like inappropriate touching, and catcalling, etc, etc. I think the actual rape number was nine percent […] it’s still nine percent too many. But you know, that’s self-reported, so.”
When it comes to CU politics, Ganahl expressed her opinions on the importance for the upcoming election of CU Regents.
“So, next year in 2020, there are three seats up for re-election on the board. There are nine regents, and there are two Democrats that are not running for re-election: Linda Shoemaker and Irene Griego. So, CD7 and CD2,” said Ganahl. “And then John Carson in CD6 is not running for re-election. It’s very dangerous for us. We need a great candidate there and we’ve got someone who just jumped in, but we need more–I think we need some more voices there.”
Ganahl made headlines this past election when she acted as co-chair for No on CC campaign, which helped defeat an initiative that would have allowed the state government to retain TABOR refunds.
A theme expressed by Ganahl during the campaign was that Colorado needs to reprioritize the funds it already has rather than take in new revenue–an idea she reiterated at the luncheon, effectively saying Medicaid should be cut because it’s “pushing out” Colorado’s “ability” to fund education, health care, and other programs.
“We have a $32 billion budget. It is growing by $1.3 billion per year. The population in Colorado has grown by 15 percent and the budget has grown by 71 percent. But Medicaid is pushing out the ability to fund other things,” said Ganahl. “So we gotta make our priorities. What do we want to do? Do we want to provide health care? Do we want to provide education in a more robust way, with free education? Do we want to provide free tuition? We’ve got to be very careful about prioritizing where we put our dollars.”