YSU students should take up Johnson on his open-door policy

This newspaper has always questioned the secretive process that led to Bill Johnson being named the 10th president of Youngstown State University.

We weren’t alone, as students, faculty, alumni, donors and community members all questioned Johnson’s lack of educational experience, his political background, his opinions on certain topics, such as his votes objecting to the 2020 presidential election, as well as his positions opposing gay marriage, abortions and what he said is “indoctrination” at some universities.

More than five months later, we still oppose how Johnson was selected to succeed Jim Tressel. We still believe the process should have been open to the public, such as how the search for the university’s new provost and vice president of academic affairs was conducted. Candidates were brought onto campus and spoke with students, faculty and members of the community.

Maybe the university and board of trustees learned their lesson.

However, now that Johnson’s first semester as president has come to a close, he seems ready to bridge the gap between himself, the student body, the faculty members and the community. We encourage those with questions or concerns to take him up on his offer.

In a recent interview with one of our reporters, Johnson spoke on the protests that happened at the beginning of his term, and the one in April outside of the Wick-Pollock House on campus.

Johnson said they didn’t necessarily concern him because none of the protesters had spoken with him directly. He said he has an open-door policy for anyone who wants to talk about things related to YSU.

“Communication solves 90% of most problems,” he told us.

So we are imploring YSU students, faculty and community members to take up Johnson on his offer. One way to improve the university is through communication. Allowing the university president to see things from your perspective — a viewpoint different from his own — could lead to changes or create a conversation that leads to improvements or an understanding between the two parties.

Throughout the first semester of Johnson’s tenure, we have seen the support for the former congressman and we have seen the dissent as well. We believe an open line of communication would be beneficial in creating a peaceful and prospering path forward, and we think YSU’s stakeholders should take advantage.



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