The faculty union is 'deeply confused' by the GOP's rejection of Jon Hoadley to the Western Michigan board

The faculty union is 'deeply confused' by the GOP's rejection of Jon Hoadley to the Western Michigan ...

KALAMAZOO, MI -- The head of the Western Michigan University faculty union said Friday that the Republicans were "deeply dissatisfied" with the Board of Trustees' request.

The leaders described Hoadley, a former state representative from Kalamazoo, as openly gay, and said the Republicans' opposition to him "adds to a growing wave of hostile anti-LGBTQ backlash that threatens to retaliate their country."

"We share the view that Hoadley has distinguished himself as a courageous and effective leader in many situations, as well as that he has also been a friend to higher education," said Cathryn Bailey and Whitney DeCamp, the president and vice president of WMU's chapter of the American Association of University professors.

Senators voted 20-18 to block Hoadley's appointment, claiming that Republicans opposed Hoadley because he is an openly gay man. Republicans accused Hoadley's position as a graduate student at WMU was a conflict of interest.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Hoadley was elected chairman of the board on February 18, replacing Ron Kitchens, who had previously gone. He was present and attended the board meeting that day.

When MLive spoke about Whitmer's rejection of Hoadley by the Senate, a spokesperson for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's office declined to comment. Whitmer's nomination to the Board of Trustees of Ferris State University also rejected Whitmer.

The governor of the University of Michigan has made board appointments, but those are subject to the approval of the Michigan Senate.

Sen. Jeremy Moss, D-Southfield, argued against a conflict of interest on the Senate floor on Thursday. He pointed out by former Attorney General Jennifer Granholm that a student is not in violation of the law by serving on an institution's governing board.

Moss noted that Hoadley, the former state representative for Michigan's 60th state House District, is the second homosexual appointee that Senate Republicans have banned since last year.

Leaders of the WMU faculty union argue that Hoadley's sexual orientation is the genuine reason behind the rejection.

"Considering both the misleading nature of the reasoning for rejecting him as disqualified, and considering current anti-LGBTQ political trends, it would be irresponsible to ignore Hoadley's status as an openly gay political leader," Bailey said.

"This rejection is not only a provocation to Hoadley, but to each of us at Western Michigan University who value fair play, respect, and the inclusion of differing views and perspectives in higher education leadership," union leaders said.

Erin Knott, the executive director of Equality Michigan, said the conflict-of-interest reason was a "ruse to denial the appointment, simply because Jon is an openly gay guy."

Knott, the leader of the LGBTQ advocacy organization, said many of the same Senators worked with Hoadley and "can attest to his abilities to serve."

It's regrettable that he is the victim of partisan politics, Knott said. Equality Michigan requires our supporters to call all Republican Senators and ask them to submit a motion to reconsider the vote by which Jon was rejected.

State Sen. Sean McCann, D-Kalamazoo, said on the Senate floor that the Republican's reasons for the rejection are based on a "very thin assumption" at the time, and that the former leader was denied based on his politics.

"Colleagues, I have to wonder if we would even be looking at the merits of this appointment in this case if it was a person who didn't have the profile of Rep. Hoadley," McCann said. "Is this a purely political outcry??"

Jon is looking forward to doing this, McCann said. He would be an excellent addition to this board and wants the very best for the institution.

Judge Christopher Haenicke of Kalamazoo County was with Hoadley during a meeting on Thursday, March 17, at the funeral.

According to a statement to MLive, Hoadley served on the board while waiting for the Senate and "right away demonstrated his passion for public service, higher education, and Western."

We appreciate what he did during that time, Davis said.

At the time of the publication Friday, Hoadley joined the board in Business, Technology, and Research Park II. At the time of the vote, whether or not this vote was affected by the Senate's rejection was unclear.

Hoadley was "extremely chastised" in the Senate's vote on Thursday in a posting to his Twitter account.

I have spent years supporting our faculty, staff, and students at WMU in my community, and in the Michigan Legislature, Hoadley said. I was very pleased to continue that support as a member of the Board of Trustees. This commitment, taken without even a hearing, is counter to the spirit of open debate and student that is a hallmark of Higher Education institutions. Regardless of today's vote, I remain committed to WMU, the Kalamazoo community, and am willing to work with anyone.

Hoadley said at the time of his swearing in at WMU that both his parents were university professors, and he gained exposure to the potentials of higher education.

I'm aware of the challenges and opportunities that higher education has in the country. Hoadley said, adding that for me, access is very personal. That's one of the things I like about this, the fact that Western is deeply rooted in community.

We have fantastic faculty and staff, we have great leadership, and we have some of the best students in the country. Im ready to deal with the problems that we all collectively face, and I'm looking forward to making every day a wonderful day to be a Bronco.

Senator Aric Nesbitt, R-Lawton, said he voted to disapprove the two nominees because he believed the governor had "exercised poor judgment" in making the appointments.

"Our governor would have identified individuals more qualified for these crucial positions, according to Nesbitt. In fact, she has improved judgment with appointments to these kinds of boards and universities in recent years."

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