Letter to the Editor: Bill Johnson and YSU

To whom it may concern:

On Tuesday, Nov. 21, the YSU trustees voted 8-1 to approve a contract offer to sitting congressman Bill Johnson from Marietta, Ohio. I think it’s important to note that during the press conference the congressman stated twice that, “Youngstown’s purpose is to educate people, not indoctrinate them, not politicize them.”

Inferring that YSU, and other institutions of higher learning, engage in indoctrination of some sort. As a graduate of YSU (BA 1972, MA 1974), I find that comment offensive and polarizing, and another example of why someone with no experience in academia is the wrong choice for YSU.

Johnson, whose career has spanned over 20 years in the Air Force, some time in the private sector, and 12 years in the House of Representatives, has no experience in academia. His level of education was a master’s degree.

YSU, our university, is the cradle of higher education in the Mahoning Valley, with over 11,000 students. As with most universities it is the home for learning, but also the home for the exchange of ideas, acceptance of facts as real and toleration of others’ ideas.

As president, Johnson would be the face of YSU. He comes from a political background where book banning is accepted, women are not in control of their bodies, immigrants are feared and different cultures and religions are denigrated.

Johnson himself was one of 147 Republicans that refused to accept the results of the 2020 election by voting against the electoral college results. He did this even after fleeing the House chamber when a mob stormed the Capitol.

Johnson is also dubious of climate change since he is an outspoken advocate for more coal and natural gas exploration.

I think this is hardly the right choice for the presidency of a university, our university, YSU.

Frank Wanat