YSU Student Government Assoc. expresses 'dissatisfaction' over presidential offer, process
Youngstown students are speaking out ahead of Tuesday afternoon's Youngstown State University Board of Trustees special meeting to consider or take action on the university's presidential search.
This comes as the job was offered to Valley Congressman Bill Johnson last Thursday.
On Monday afternoon, the Youngstown State Student Government Association (SGA) issued a formal resolution on the university's Board of Trustees offering the position to Johnson that said, "As the body tasked with uniting, representing, and serving the student body, we feel students were not included in this decision-making process by the Board of Trustees whatsoever."
The Student Government Association passed the resolution Monday afternoon that listed its concerns against the action taken by the board, including neither the faculty, staff, or students being offered the opportunity to meet or question prospective candidates, including Johnson, ahead of the offer.
The letter issued by the SGA also said the decision by the trustees undermines "the progress made on campus to improve the climate at YSU and embrace shared governance between faculty and administration."
"It sort of came out of left field like we aren't expecting it,' said Alexander Papa, President of the YSU Student Government Association. "In the past, they've had presidents come on to campus, do interviews, townhalls, and that just didn't happen this time."
The SGA also asked the Board to explain its reasoning for the expedited process's lack of transparency to students.
"It's not so much us trying to stop him from becoming president," Papa explained. "It's more us trying to be involved in that decision-making process for whoever the president is because we were left out this time."
The majority of SGA says their concern is not caused by Johnson's conservative agenda but some members believe otherwise.
"I think colleges are notoriously left-leaning and this campus is no exception, unfortunately," said Austin Browne, President of Turning Point USA at YSU. "To go from basically almost a unanimous decision to overturn the decision, I think would take incredible pressure and even with the pressure that's been applied against them [trustees], I don't think it's enough to change their opinion."
Browne believes the student government body would not be taking as much action if a Democratic political figure was appointed to the positions, comparing Johnson to former Valley congressman Tim Ryan.
"Our job is to do our best and it's very hard sometimes to be as neutral as possible and realize that we are tasked with representing all students here on campus," Papa responded.According to YSU Director of Marketing and Communications, Becky Rose, negotiations are still ongoing, and if both parties agree on terms, the board will be voting on a contract during Tuesday's meeting.
Youngstown State University's Board of Trustees voted 8-1 Thursday afternoon during an emergency meeting to offer the position of university president to Congressman Johnson.
Interim President Helen Lafferty told 21 News she was not a part of the selection process and can't comment on the matter but credits SGA for speaking their mind.
You can read a copy of the approved student resolution below: