YSU-OEA alleges 'lack of transparency' in university's presidential search
The union representing full-time faculty at Youngstown State University is voicing its concerns regarding the university's presidential search.
According to the release, YSU-OEA said they condemn the lack of transparency in the Board of Trustees' process for selecting the next president after Thursday's announcement that the position has been offered to Congressman Bill Johnson.
"Faculty, staff, students, and community members were not part of the selection and interview process," YSU-OEA President Dr. Mark Vopat said. "We are disappointed that the YSU Board of Trustees would offer the presidency to anyone without first vetting the candidate through meetings with stakeholders."
The faculty union said that "the typical, transparent approach" to hiring in higher education includes open forums, campus visits and getting feedback from the community before making a decision. Dr. Vopat claims the process YSU used "shortchanges faculty, staff, students and members of the Youngstown community."
Vopat said the last year has improved faculty-administration relations during Dr. Helen Lafferty's term as interim president. He said Lafferty met with union leaders and departments across campus and worked to create a more productive and optimistic campus climate.
"We saw the benefit of transparency and including people in decision making under Lafferty's leadership," Vopat said. "We saw the outcomes of that with contract negotiations this summer, when we agreed to a new contract before the fall semester. This year was a complete turn-around following years of protracted and contentious negotiations. And now we're back to square one," Vopat said.
The union says they want the YSU Board of Trustees to reconsider their decision.
"We encourage the Board to reconsider their unilateral decision to extend an offer without community input, resume the search, and fully vet the candidates by introducing them to community members before making a hiring decision," Vopat said.
The YSU Board of Trustees voted 8-1 Thursday afternoon to offer Congressman Johnson the job.