YSU Students, Faculty Protest Presidency Offer to Rep. Johnson

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Approximately 50 students, alumni, faculty and members of the community gathered outside Tod Hall at Youngstown State University on Monday to protest the Board of Trustee’s decision to offer the university presidency to U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-6th.

The crowd outside chanted “Do Over!” in reaction to trustees’ vote last week to offer the presidency to Johnson. 

Some of the protesters were critical of the selection process, while others were critical of Johnson’s political positions.

At least one student representing Turning Point USA voiced support for Johnson.

Last week, YSU trustees voted 8-1 in an emergency meeting to offer the position to Johnson, who has been in Congress since 2010.

The YSU faculty union that same day criticized the decision, citing a lack of transparency. Over the weekend, five alumni wrote a letter to trustees, asking them to reconsider. The letter faulted the process and also objected to some of Johnson’s political positions.

Johnson hasn’t said if he’ll accept the job. Trustees said he was one of three finalists. YSU hasn’t said who the other two finalists are, but Trustee Chairman Michael Peterson said last week that they both have higher education experience.

Trustees plan a special meeting at 2 p.m. Tuesday “to consider and/or take action upon the presidential search …” A university spokeswoman said negotiations with Johnson continue, and if they agree on terms, trustees will need to vote on a contract Tuesday. A news conference is planned after the meeting.

This is a developing story.

Pictured at top: Protesters gathered outside Tod Hall at YSU on Monday.

Copyright 2023 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.