The Rev. Jesse Jackson is threatening to drum up a boycott of the University of Colorado for what he calls "a blatant example of racism" in hiring Rick Neuheisel as head football coach over assistant head coach Bob Simmons.
In a letter to university president Judith Albino dated Dec. 2, Jackson and Charles Farrell, coalition national director, asked to meet with university officials after charging that Albino "aided and abetted" the allegedly racist hiring of Neuheisel.The Nov. 28 hiring, according to the letter, is "proof that the good ol' boy system continues to thrive. Only this time the system was aided and abetted by you, a woman who must know what it is like to try and succeed in a white male dominated environment."
Neuheisel is white, and Simmons is black.
"It's unfortunate that Rev. Jackson has made this statement without first looking into the record of our program," Albino said after seeing the letter. "To jump to this conclusion demonstrates a form of bias itself. I hope to respond to Rev. Jackson directly as soon as possible."
Neuheisel, 33, has been with the CU football organization for nine months after coaching quarterbacks and receivers at UCLA for six years. Simmons, 46, has been a college coach since 1975 and has been with CU for seven years.
Colorado spokesman David Grimm defended the school's affirmative action record in athletics and said Albino has been a leader in hiring minority coaches and administrators in her career.