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“The other challenge is, ‘Who is a true conservative?’” Mr. Ludwig said. “I think that argument comes up on a fairly regular basis, about who is conservative and who isn’t, and who gets to decide what that is, if that’s a basis for hiring.”

Student Tyler Quick quipped that he would “challenge the assumption that all Boulder faculty are somehow commies,” but Republican regent Sue Sharkey wasn’t amused.

“That’s a joke? I didn’t find the humor,” said Ms. Sharkey. “That’s an overstatement, and it diminishes the case we’re trying to make here.”