UPDATE: YSU Trustees Approve Johnson as Next President

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Youngstown State University Board of Trustees voted 8-1 to offer a contract to U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-6th, to serve as the next president of the university.

The decision was met with a chorus of boos after it was announced. Trustee Molly Seals, who voted against tendering an offer to Johnson, was the lone no vote among the nine trustees.

The board’s decision to extend the offer to Johnson has been met with stiff opposition from faculty, alumni, students and members of the community.

Earlier, the board move into executive session shortly after convening a special meeting Tuesday afternoon to discuss the university’s presidential search.

Board Chairman Michael Peterson said the board would review petitions submitted in opposition to the trustees’ decision last week to offer the university president position to Johnson.

He said people would have an opportunity to speak at the board’s December meeting, but not today.

YSU students and faculty show their disapproval during Tuesday’s meeting.

That didn’t sit well with the meeting room packed with students, staff, faculty, alumni and community members who object to the selection of Johnson and the selection process.

Mark Vopat, president of YSU’s faculty union, interrupted the meeting as it was being called into executive session, taking issue with the trustees’ decision to not hear from the public until December.

“No one has been heard,” he said, urging the board to “answer a few questions before you make this important decision.” He then apologized for interrupting the proceedings.

Trustees then voted to move into executive session to discuss Johnson’s potential appointment.

After nearly 45 minutes, trustees called in Vopat and asked him about the questions he had. He responded by reiterating the concerns of those voicing their opposition. Trustees also contacted Ashley Orr, a 2016 YSU graduate and the single Rhodes Scholar to ever emerge from the university. Orr is among five alumni who signed on to a letter criticizing the decision and helped launch a petition drive that has since collected more 2,300 signatures.

Pictured at top: U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson speaks during a news conference Tuesday.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.