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Backlash over Ron Brown hiring has already started

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Lets_Talk:
For people who thought I was making an issue out of nothing with my posts regarding the hiring of Ron Brown, you might want to think again. Here is a link to a Jambar article. Last week, The Jambar received three letters to the editor from a student, SGA representatives and a YSU chair and professor.

I know many of you who post on this site are on the conservative side, with several being 30 or older. I also know that Youngstown, Ohio is not exactly a bastion of equality and inclusion. Having said that, times are changing. The youth of today, even in an area such as Youngstown/Warren are much more open minded and accepting of people. It is only Feb 9th, and already 3 individuals have sent letters to The Jambar in opposition to the hiring of Ron Brown. Two are from students, with one of those being a representative of Student Government. The third is from a professor who is also a department chair. YSU is already having a hard time coming to an agreement on new contracts with Faculty and ACE. It's easy to see how this hire could become yet another sticking point in those negotiations. And, it would not surprise me at all to see ACLU of Ohio intervening in the same way the ACLU did at Nebraska.

http://www.thejambar.com/a-damning-silence-on-ron-brown/
A DAMNING SILENCE ON RON BROWN

Last week, The Jambar received three letters to the editor from a student, SGA representatives and a YSU chair and professor. Yes, you heard that right. The Jambar received three whole letters in a single week and, potentially more revolutionary, all the letters were in reference to the same controversy — gasp. So what exactly has lit a fire under the collective a$$ of the YSU community? The hiring of Ron Brown as the new YSU assistant coach.

Dwarfing the locker room controversy that surrounded Pelini’s introduction into the university, Ron Brown is known for somewhat neolithic views on the homosexual community and a love of expressing those beliefs publicly; an evangelical Christian who was known to preach to his team. He has also told the Associated Press, “that based on the Bible, homosexuality, the lifestyle of homosexuality, is a sin.” It isn’t exactly surprising that he stirred up some controversy on college campuses.

Though YSU’s athletics department has remained tight-lipped about the whole affair and an official announcement has been made, Ron Brown himself has confirmed his role as the new assistant coach. He is, apparently, currently working on campus.

But this editorial isn’t about denouncing this man’s views and their latent threat to YSU, something the letters to the editor accomplished already, but it is about YSU’s response to the obvious controversy. Or, should we say, their lack of response.

This whole turgid affair is representative of a noxious trend that can be identified out of this incident.

The YSU administration and Board of Trustees’ methodology, in recent memory, has been to act almost entirely unilaterally and with apparent impressive disregard for the opinion of the community.

Despite the letters to the editor, incendiary debates appearing on social media and a recent vote of ‘no confidence’ in the Academic Senate against the provost, we are not going to pretend that the majority of the student body is wracked with indignant rage over this hiring — we aren’t even sure if a majority know about it. It isn’t the number of voices involved in the controversy; it’s about the nature of the controversy. There have been valid concerns of possible discrimination; and, fundamentally, this is a concern that could involve conflicting rights — of free speech and the separation of church and state.

That isn’t a situation where you put your hands over your ears and scream “LALALA” until everyone shuts up and goes home; it isn’t an issue where you let responses and assurances trickle out slowly.

This is the brand of controversy that you tackle head-on. This is the type of controversy where you are happy to answer our calls because you want to assure worried students and professors that there will be no discrimination or state-sponsored evangelizing allowed at your university.

Even if this response was a simple decoy to silence naysayers, at least it is something. Silence is so much worse. It tells concerned parties that the issue is not worth your time, and, by extension, the individual presenting the problem is not worth your time.

And this isn’t an isolated incident. Last year, during the selection process for President Tressel, the Board of Trustees was the only entity represented on the search committee. Though this is not unusual at other universities, it is an odd break from the YSU tradition to include Board members, professors and students on the search committee.

Then, on the same day that the YSU faculty union, YSU-OEA, was to vote on the tentative contract, YSU decided to fire Coach Eric Wolford. Part of Wolford’s contract stipulated that he receive a buyout of $100,000 upon dismissal unless he received a job within the next year. Wolford ended up receiving a job with the 49ers, and the sum of his salary there will reduce the sum of his buyout.

Nonetheless, the faculty knew one thing when he was removed — there was a possibility that YSU was paying $100,000 on athletics in the midst of accusations that YSU was more concerned with athletics than academics. It is pure foolishness to make this decision on the day of an important vote during an extremely contentious faculty negotiation.

No wonder that in every interview with Gabriel Palmer-Fernandez, YSU-OEA’s chief negotiator and a professor at YSU, he says the same thing: YSU is depriving faculty of shared governance of the university. In addition, the total weight of the YSU community’s opinion seems to be diminishing.

If acting unilaterally is going to be the flavor of the next few years, you could at least capitulate to one demand and be more transparent with these decisions. Give us some warning of your intentions so it at least feels like our opinions could potentially have an impact — not just cannon fire after the battle has long been decided for us. Don’t get us wrong, this isn’t really enough, but at least, “no legacy is so rich as honesty.”

We hope that YSU just has an image problem, and they care deeply about the opinion of the YSU community; they remain silent or obstinate only because they have a masterwork plan that we plebeians could simply not understand.

To everyone looking in, though, it sure seems that YSU’s head doesn’t much care about the opinion of the rest of its body.

penguinpower:
The Jambar shouldn't have written this. Not sure if there is an controversy.  Instead, what they should have written is that everyone has to accept everyone else and just because you don't like someone else's views doesn't mean you don't accept them.  There are multiple angles to this:  Straights that hate Gays, Gays that hate straights and everyone else like Gays that don't mind straights and straights that don't mind gay's.  Because universities are centers of poisonous liberalism you are getting the backlash.  Liberals are accepting as long as you don't disagree with them.

ysufan0505:
Blah blah.

Penguin Nation:
It is always ironic that the ones who claim to be the most tolerant are the most intolerant of differing views.

The First Amendment states Coach Brown has the right to stay stupid and misguided things (which they are IMO).  It also states the Jambar the right to write intolerant pseudo-intellectual drivel.

Lets_Talk:
penguinpower,

The Editor of The Jambar had every right to write this Editorial piece. If you do not like the article, then take it up with the Editor. I'm merely trying to point out that this hiring is already causing controversy, and we are 7 months away from the start of the season, and about 6 months from summer practice.

Ron Brown has a right to believe whatever he wants to believe. What he does not have is a right to use his position as a football coach at YSU to push his version of Christianity, his views on sexual orientation, gender identity, race, age or any of the other areas prohibited in the non-discrimination clause.

I know of MANY coaches at YSU, both past and present that had/have a very strong faith in God. That is not the issue here. The issue is Ron Borwn being so outspoken in his bigoted views, and how that can affect the players on the football team, the student body, fans, alumni, faculty and staff and the entire community.

Also, I did not go searching for this article. I read The Jambar on line from time to time as a way to keep up with what is going on at my Alma Mater. And, if you read the piece, this is about more than just Ron Brown, and his views. This is about systemic problems at YSU that do not appear to be improving at all with Jim Tressel as President. I supported his hiring, and believe he still deserves more time before being deemed fit or unfit for the position. But, his Presidency has not gotten off to a good start, with the inability to finalize a contact with ACE, finalize a contact with Faculty, a decrease in Fall Enrollment, decrease in Winter Enrollment, and questions over the Athletic Dept receiving an INCREASE in funding, while all other departments received funding DECREASES.

The hiring of Brown is just a system of much of what plagues YSU, and this op-ed piece makes that very clear. I do not understand why it is so hard for people to understand that a person with the views of Ron Brown who is as outspoken and brash as he is does not bode well for a PUBLIC UNIVERSITY. Nor does the AD, Tressel or even Pelini not responding to the concerns of people such as myself, those who wrote letters to the editor and others with regards to Ron Brown.

I'm now in a position financially again where I can make small donations to YSU if I choose. As a result of the Ron Brown hiring, and the way concerns have been handled by Tressel, Strollo and Pelini, I will not donate a single cent to YSU or YSU athletics. I'm just a small time donor when I've donated in the past. And, it's easy for those of you that post without using your true identity to bash me. Just consider though that there are other people with the same concerns as myself. Other people who could contribute money to YSU and specifically the Athletic Department. Also remember that the University belongs first and foremost to the current students. I doubt this is the last time this issue will be discussed publicly, and it is to the detriment of the University, the athletic department and the football program to not have any kind of open discussion about Ron Brown with students, faculty, staff, alumni and any person who supports YSU in any way.

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