Letter to the Editor: Bill Johnson and YSU


I feel compelled to write to you as I am filled with anger and frustration after learning about the appointment of the new university president, Rep. Bill Johnson.  

My name is Nick Hagglund, a 2003 alumni from the School of Engineering in chemical engineering before I went on to get my Masters of Science from Pitt. In my time, I remember the presidents fondly who served while I was there. Dr. David Sweet, Dr. Leslie Cochran, and after I graduated, Jim Tressel seemed to wholeheartedly believe in education and the pursuit of further knowledge.

My time at YSU was spent learning and pursuing fact-based knowledge, understanding of engineering principles, the environment and the world around me. Now, to see a president in place that hides from facts and denounces them (yes … Trump lost the election in 2020) is disheartening to say the least. To see that the current administration has a history of criticizing the EPA and saying that they are “destroying business” is ridiculous. I’m not a “tree hugger” as some might think. I am a realistic person who expects industry and emissions to be monitored, limited reasonably, and effective actions to be taken to stop the destruction of our environment, because trust me, if left unchecked, it is disastrous. I spent my time there learning about other cultures, religions and people outside of my 18-year-old perception. That what I might not be a part of isn’t necessarily wrong. Women should be in control of their bodies. Those who are not “straight” should have rights afforded to them that others do.  

I saw a bright outlook on life when I graduated from YSU. I don’t see one looking at YSU today.  I can say for the first time in my life today, that I am ashamed of my alma mater. I am ashamed of YSU. I will always look back on my great professors, experiences and friends with happiness because the board of trustees and the new president don’t get to rob me of that. However, I will not look at my alma mater in the same light again. I am ashamed of them, and in all honesty, they can have my degree back. Because the pursuit of knowledge, fact, human understanding and truth means nothing to YSU leadership any longer. So, what use is a degree from an institution that doesn’t value those things?

I say this as a proud and successful engineer, husband, father of 4 amazing daughters and empathetic human being.

I am ashamed of YSU’s direction and administration!

With Regret,

Nicholas Hagglund

Class of 2003

BE in Chemical Engineering