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University of Colo. President Resigns

Associated Press
Tuesday, March 8, 2005; Page A08

DENVER, March 7 -- University of Colorado President Elizabeth Hoffman announced her resignation Monday amid a football recruiting scandal and an uproar over a professor who compared Sept. 11, 2001, victims to a notorious Nazi.

Hoffman said the school needs a fresh start after the many controversies that have rattled the school, especially a football scandal that produced allegations of rapes, strip-club visits and alcohol-fueled sex parties for recruits.

Elizabeth Hoffman's tenure has been marked by controversies involving the football team. (Ed Andrieski -- AP)

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"It appears to me it is in the university's best interest that I remove the issue of my future from the debate so that nothing inhibits CU's ability to successfully create the bright future it so deserves," Hoffman wrote in her resignation letter.

Hoffman, who has been president for five years, told the board of regents that her resignation is effective June 30, or whenever the board names a successor.

At least nine women have said they were assaulted by Colorado football players or recruits since 1997. An independent commission reported last year that Colorado players used sex, alcohol and marijuana as recruiting tools.

Last week, a sealed grand jury report leaked to the media said that two female trainers alleged they were sexually assaulted by an assistant coach, and that a "slush fund" was created with money from Coach Gary Barnett's football camp.

The grand jury, which finished meeting Aug. 19, handed up a single indictment accusing a former football recruiting aide of soliciting a prostitute for himself and misusing a school-issued cell phone.

A parallel investigation by then-Attorney General Ken Salazar into the alleged assaults resulted in no charges. Prosecutors cited concerns about evidence and the women's reluctance to go forward with the cases.

There were other headline-grabbing incidents over the past year -- the latest surrounding activist professor Ward Churchill, who likened some World Trade Center victims to Nazi Adolf Eichmann.

Among other things, the professor said the "relatively well-educated elite" killed in the twin towers were "little Eichmanns," a reference to the Nazi bureaucrat who helped organize the murder of an estimated 6 million Jews.

Last month, administrators took the first steps toward Churchill's possible dismissal.

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