YSU to hold press conference following Tuesday's trustees meeting on potential Bill Johnson presidency
The Youngstown State University Board of Trustees will be holding another meeting on Tuesday, November 21 to further discuss the potential presidency of Valley Congressman, Bill Johnson.
According to YSU Director of Marketing and Communications, Becky Rose, negotiations are still ongoing, and if both parties come to an agreement on terms, the board will be voting on a contract during Tuesday's meeting.
Rose also tells 21 News the university plans to hold a press conference following the meeting. Stay connected with 21 News online and on air for updates on what is discussed at the press conference.
21 News reached out to Johnson on Sunday via text, but he did not reply. Ben Keeler, Johnson's communications director and senior advisor, said he was unaware of the Tuesday meeting until he was contacted by 21 News for comment. He did not know as of Sunday evening whether Johnson had accepted an offer or would be in attendance at Tuesday's meeting.
During an emergency meeting on Thursday, November 16, it was announced that trustees were considering Congressman Johnson as the university's new president following the resignation of former president, Jim Tressel.
This announcement was met with a wave of backlash from multiple parties including the university's faculty union and student body who criticized the board's "lack of transparency" and not letting students or faculty weigh in on this decision.
21 News has requested documentation of YSU's presidential search process, including resumes for any other candidates who've been interviewed, as well as dates, agendas and minutes for any meetings held pertaining to the search process, even if those agendas only include explanations for why they were held in executive session.
In response to that request, the university pointed to a notice for meetings held off-campus at the Avalon Inn and Resort on November 7, 9 and 10th, which were described as meetings to discuss "YSU's Future State," but never directly mentioned the presidential search.
Those meetings were to be held in executive session, and the notice for those meetings cited "to consider the appointment, employment, dismissal, discipline, promotion, demotion, or compensation of a public employee or official…” as the reason.
Ohio law does permit public bodies to discuss employment matters in executive session, however the meeting must still be publicly announced and must commence and adjourn in open session, even if no action is taken.
No action by the board can legally be taken in executive session.
In response to 21 News request for resumes and names for other candidates for the position who were interviewed, Rose said the university does not have any such records in their possession.
The YSU trustees' web site only lists a notice of last week's emergency meeting where the offer to Johnson was made, with no attached agenda. It also lists a meeting in September for which no minutes are posted. The last meeting with minutes posted is from August 18.
The union also stated that Johnson has no higher education experience
There is also a student-run petition currently up on Change.org entitled "Bill Johnson is Wrong for YSU" whose description describes Johnson as an "extremist politician" as well as "anti-LGBTQ+," "anti-choice," "an election denier," etc.