YSU Academic Senate issues vote of no confidence for board, incoming President Bill Johnson
The Youngstown State University Academic Senate voted Saturday to issue a vote of no confidence in both YSU's Board of Trustees and incoming President Bill Johnson, a Republican U.S. Congressman whose selection has proven controversial on campus.
The senate approved two resolutions. One blasted the closed-door process the board undertook to hire Johnson as "deliberately misleading and rushed," with interviews happening during the board's executive sessions and no other candidates identified for the position other than Johnson. The other raised concerns about Johnson - who is closely aligned with former U.S. President Donald Trump - as the university's next president.
"President Designee Bill Johnson has denied basic facts: the outcome of the 2020 election and climate science; and... the employment of such a partisan figure could negatively impact potential recruitment of students and faculty, specifically international, minority, and/or LGBTQ students and faculty," the resolution reads.
Roughly 78% of academic senate members supported the vote of no confidence in the process and the board of trustees, and 58% of senators approved the resolution of no confidence against Bill Johnson.
Spokesperson Rebecca Rose said the YSU Board of Trustees "hears those concerns."
"Across academia, a no confidence vote is a traditional way that university constituencies can voice their concerns. The board hears those concerns, and it will continue to work with the faculty and with all YSU stakeholders to serve our students and meet the needs of our region," she said in a Dec. 18 email. "President-Elect Bill Johnson is committed to YSU and excited to get to work. He is committed to being the president for 100% of the University’s stakeholders. He is committed to fostering an inclusive and respectful environment at the university regardless of politics, religion or personal affiliations."
YSU has faced blowback from donors and alumni, some who have said they will withdraw their support if the university does not reverse course on hiring Johnson.
Johnson will start at YSU officially in March.