When Will Our Qualifications Be Enough? CLLARO, Latino Community Express Outrage In CU Regents’ Presidential Process: Former Lieutenant Governor Joe Garcia Not A Finalist

Joseph Garcia is sworn as Lt. Governor at Inaugural Event Jan. 13, 2014 Photo by Latin Life Denver Media

CLLARO and various partners in the Latino Advocacy Council are outraged to learn that former Lieutenant Governor Joe Garcia is not included as part of the University of Colorado’s Board of Regents search committee’s top five finalists for the university’s next president.

Former Lieutenant Governor Joe Garcia
Mario M. Carrera, President/CEO of CLLARO

“The process comes into questionable territory when such an accomplished Colorado home-grown professional in this field does not get the due and serious consideration he deserves,” said Mario M. Carrera, President/CEO of CLLARO. “The CU Regents should know better given the history of turbulence the institution has experienced in recent years.”

CLLARO Board Chair Federico Peña

CLLARO Board Chair Federico Peña added: “I have known Joe Garcia since he was a Harvard Law student and his twenty year history in higher education is extraordinary. It’s unbelievable that his name will not be presented to the full Board of Regents.”

The position of president has been vacant since May of 2021 when former president Mark Kennedy announced his departure. The university’s Board of Regents announced an “orderly transition of the presidency” and nominated and later selected 16 university-affiliated individuals
to the presidential search committee.

In December, the University of Colorado announced it would narrow the pool of candidates to at least five candidates – “unranked” – for the regents to consider. Despite having more than two decades of experience working for educational systems and advancing diversity and equity from
within, our former Lieutenant Governor is not being considered for this key position.

“This is so familiar, and typical,” says Virginia Castro, President of the Auraria Historical Advocacy Council and member of the Latino Advocacy Council. “It is extremely disappointing that our community can never get to the top of the competition. When will our qualifications be enough? Even with people as qualified as Joe Garcia.”

According to a recent study by the IBM Institute for Business Value, Hispanics account for 18.5 percent of the U.S. population, yet only account for 4 percent of executive ranks. Latinos are even more underrepresented in Colorado, in spite of being nearly one in four. Once again, Latinos are deemed somehow not qualified enough for key leadership roles in the well-being of Colorado.

“On behalf of Colorado LULAC and National LULAC, the League of United Latin American Citizens of the Nation’s largest and oldest Hispanic organization with over 3,000 councils and 200,000 members, we are disappointed with the omission of Joe Garcia as a candidate for the
University of Colorado,” says Sonny Rubia, Colorado State Director for LULAC and Latino Advocacy Council member. “Colorado has seen a large increase in people of color in the past years, and it is unfortunate that CU is not considering a choice that reflects our great state’s diversity.”

CLLARO’s mission is to empower the Latino community through leadership, advocacy, and research. Today’s decision to not include someone who embodies not only the mission of CLLARO, but the Colorado Latino community is disheartening, and we will work to ensure that the University of Colorado’s Board of Regents hears the concerns of the Colorado community.

At the time of this release, the following organizations stand with CLLARO in our disappointment at this time. This is not an exhaustive list and is growing by the hour.
Auraria Historical Advocacy Council
Cesar Chavez Peace and Justice Center for Denver
Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR)
League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
Nuevo Amistad
Servicios de la Raza
Servicios Sigue


The Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy & Research Organization (CLLARO), formerly known as LARASA, is a non-profit organization established in 1964. CLLARO’s mission is to empower Latinos
through leadership development, advocacy, and policy research to strengthen Colorado.