(More than 100) UVU Scholars for Diversity and Inclusivity

On the first of May of this year over one hundred current and former members of the UVU faculty and Staff (several us members of the UVU Chapter of the AAUP) published this letter in the Salt Lake Tribune.

George Pyle wrote Sunday in the Salt Lake Tribune that Gene Schaerr, the lawyer hired by the State of Utah to argue against marriage equality in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, has filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court case and has done so for “100 Scholars of Marriage.” Pyle noted that among the 100 are 13 with connections to Utah, including, “most notably, Matthew Holland, the president of Utah Valley University.”

All of us, including our university president Matthew Holland, have the right to speak publicly as private citizens on controversial issues. However, as the public face of UVU to the larger community, Holland has a special responsibility to avoid public pronouncements that would harm his ability to carry out his duties as president of a state university officially committed to "diversity and inclusion."

As current and former members of the Utah Valley University faculty and staff, we find President Matthew Holland's promotion of the spurious ideas expressed by the “100 Scholars” and the potential association of UVU with the Schaerr brief to be disappointing and harmful to values at the core of our public university.

Jim Harris, Biology
Scott Abbott, Integrated Studies and Humanities
Daniel Horns, Earth Science
Catherine Stephen, Biology
David Knowlton, Anthropology

Sam Rushforth, Biology
Lyn Bennett, History
Alan Clarke, Integrated Studies
Alex Simon, Sociology
Angie Banchero-Kelleher, Dance

Christa Albrecht-Crane, English
Jeff Torlina, Sociology
Dan Stephen, Earth Science and Environmental Studies
Karin Anderson, English
Robert Robbins, Biology

John Hunt, History
Nancy Rushforth, Integrated Studies and Humanities
Laura Hamblin, English
Katherine Paulick, Sociology
Bob Palais, Mathematics

Steven Emerman, Earth Science
Denise Richards, Student Leadership and Success Studies
Nathan Gorelick, English
Laurie Whitt, Integrated Studies and Philosophy
JaNae Haas, History

Michael Bunds, Earth Science
Stacy Waddoups, Student Leadership and Success Studies
Bill Evenson, Physics
Kate McPherson, English
Anita Bradford, History

Chris Weigel, Philosophy
Mike Jensen, Student Leadership and Success Studies
Emily Holt, Biology
Lydia Kerr, English
Cindy Hamman, Dental Hygiene

Janice Sugiyama, Biotechnology
Larry Harper, English and Philosophy
Kevin Eyraud, ESL
Christine Contestable, Philosophy and Student Leadership and Success Studies
Monica Campbell, Dance

Matt Horn, Chemistry
Lisa Hall Hagen, Theater
Gaya Carlton, Nursing
Joel Bradford, Earth Science
Mark Lentz, History

Lisa Lambert, Student Leadership and Success Studies
Michael Goode, History
Ross Hagen, Music
Jan Wellington, English
Hazel McKenna, Developmental Mathematics

David Yoder, Anthropology
Leslie Simon, Humanities
Sandy McGunigall-Smith, Behavioral Science
Anne Arendt, Technology Management
Richard Tolman, Biology

J.C. Graham, Suicide Prevention
Dennis Potter, Philosophy
Paul Bybee, Biology
Glendon Parker, Biology
Deb Thornton, English

Lee Anne Mortensen, English
Kindra Amott, Philosophy and Humanities
Erin McClure, Summit Program Manager
Colleen Bye, Developmental Mathematics
Alex Strasburg, Center for the Study of Ethics

Karen Mizell, Philosophy
Deborah Marrott, Basic Composition
Keith Snedegar, History
Sam Liang, Humanities
Sandra García-Sánchez, Developmental Mathematics

Jamie Johnson, Veteran Coordinator
Mavis F. Green, Aviation
Robbin Anthony, Student Life and Wellness
George Veit, Dental Hygiene
Garth Tino, Exercise Science and Outdoor Recreation

Lisa Williamson, Women’s Success Center
Liz Owens, Sociology
Jenna R. Atkinson, Assistive Technology
Brooke Swallow, Student Life
Heather Holland, Philosophy and Humanities

Chelsey Darrington, Graduation and Transfer Services
Gabriel Black, Lead-Staff Interpreter
Tiffany Yoast, Student Leadership and Success Studies
Tia Sorensen, Prospective Student Services
Michaela Giesenkirchen Sawyer, Humanities

Samuel Banford, English
Numsiri Kunakemakorn, Secondary Education
David Heldenbrand, Computer Science
Kristin Nuesmeyer, Academic Advisor
Betsy Lindley, Exercise Science and Outdoor Recreation

Jerry Petersen, English
Sarah Donohue, Dance
Terrell Wyche, Biology
Wioleta Fedeczko, English
Russ Harrel, Earth Science

Brad Morin, Mathematics
Scott Williams, Exercise Science and Outdoor Recreation
Suzanne Walther, Earth Science
Mark Olson, Integrated Studies
Michael T. Stevens, Biology

Travis Reynolds, Behavioral Science
Catherine McIntyre, Archivist and Digitization Librarian
Maritza Sotomayor, Finance and Economics
Reba Keele, Public and Community Health
Lucille Stoddard, Business and Academic Administration

Eric Robertson, Humanities
Suzy Cox, Education
Machiel Van Frankenhuijsen, Mathematics
Joshua Snyder, Biology
Emily Bullough, Library

Grant Moss, English
Paul Weber, Physics
Rick McDonald, English
Ed Firmage, Humanities

Click HERE for the newspaper version.


  1. When Matt Holland was named President of Utah Valley University, he resigned from the Board of Directors of the National Organization for Marriage. Lyn Bennett and I sent him an email welcoming him to the university. We wrote that we had been nervous about how he would represent the broad range of students and faculty at our state university, especially those of us who identify as LGBTQ. He replied that his personal viewpoint would not change but that he understood the need to represent us all and had, thus, stepped away from NOM. Fair enough we said.
    In the intervening years President Holland has, for the most part, fostered the values of diversity and inclusivity.
    Now, however, with his support of the amicus brief that argues against marriage equality, he has stepped back across the line into an advocacy he understood earlier as antithetical to his role as our president.
    The UVU public relations office has stated that he was speaking as a private person and that the brief's labeling him as President of UVU was strictly for identification purposes (as the brief itself states). Without that identification, however, absent his status as President of our state university, "Matt Holland" is uninteresting as a "scholar" supporting the case against marriage equality. The justification is a case of double-speak.

    (And some parenthetical questions: Does the public relations office have the responsibility to defend whatever our administration does, to put the best face on bad choices? Does it act as a propaganda machine for the President and Vice Presidents? Why didn't it put out a statement praising our letter as a defense of two of UVU's core values?)


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