Colorado looking to move past recent controversies with 'image think tank'

LOS ANGELES: Beleaguered by a year of scandals, the University of Colorado is considering the creation of a $5 million nonprofit "image think tank" charged with helping the school move beyond the controversies.

LOS ANGELES: Beleaguered by a year of scandals, the University of Colorado is considering the creation of a $5 million nonprofit "image think tank" charged with helping the school move beyond the controversies.

Though organizers are still deciding exactly what an "image think tank" is and what role it would play, its advantages to a standard PR department are clear. Called Friends of Colorado University's Success (FOCUS), the organization's nonprofit status would allow for large private donations to fund a marketing program far beyond that of a typical university.

"We were looking at ways to jumpstart and really push as quickly as possible the restoration and recovery process," said the university's assistant VP of communications, Ray Gomez. "We thought that conventional PR is good and we'll always need that, but it just didn't have the horsepower to bring the university back quickly enough."

Two women last year claimed they were raped during an off-campus football recruitment party in 2001, which led to a months-long media frenzy and official investigation, as well as the departure of the school's president. And earlier this year, a CU professor came under fire for an essay that compared World Trade Center victims to a prominent Nazi.

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