YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown State University’s Board of Trustees voted to offer the YSU president job to Congressman Bill Johnson.

The board had an emergency meeting Thursday afternoon where board members voted to extend the offer. In a vote of 8-1, all board members voted yes, except YSU Board member Molly Seals who said she didn’t believe that he was right for the job.

“We wanted someone who loved Youngstown State. We wanted someone who was passionate about this university… who’d be passionate about the students, and that’s what we have,” said YSU Board of Trustees Chairman Michael Peterson.

The board has been trying to fill the position left vacant by Jim Tressel, who retired in February. Johnson was one of three finalists for the job. Peterson said the other two had backgrounds in education.

WKBN reached out to Johnson on Thursday, who did not say whether he would take the position or not. Instead, he released the following statement:

“Very recently, I was made aware of the opportunity to become president of Youngstown State University by a national executive search firm. I wasn’t looking for another job, because I love serving the people of Eastern Ohio. When I was approached about leading this great university, with student success at the forefront, and helping to prepare the next generation of Americans to lead, I listened.

I continue to be honored and humbled to serve the men and women of Eastern Ohio in Congress, and if I determine this opportunity to lead YSU is a good fit, I’ll have a very difficult decision to make. In the meantime, my focus will remain on representing Eastern Ohio in the U.S. House.”

Bill Johnson

The decision did not sit well with everyone.

Mark Vopat, the spokesperson for YSU’s faculty union, released the following statement:

“The Board of Trustees have conducted this search with next to zero transparency. They have not allowed faculty, staff and students an opportunity to offer any input on potential candidates. 

We are surprised and disappointed that the Board would offer the presidency to anyone without first having a campus visit to meet with University stakeholders; especially someone with no higher education experience or a terminal degree in any academic field. This action shows a blatant disregard and lack of respect for the University community.”

Mark Vopat