Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Homophobic Nebraska governor now wants to helm NU; Dave Heineman's long history of hostility to LGBTs

Now that he's being term-limited out of office, Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman wants to be the University of Nebraska's next president, a cushy job which comes with a mansion rivaling the one Heineman now inhabits and a salary more than four times his current pay of $105,000 per year.
     Heineman has no experience in academic administration and no advanced degree, but he does have a long history of hostility to the interests of LGBTs (see selected highlights of that, below).
     There is already a facebook page opposing Heineman's selection as NU president, and the chairman of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents is clearly disgusted by Heineman's tactics of campaigning for the post while still governor:
     “Now that the governor has publicly announced his candidacy for the position, his current requests for one-on-one meetings with the members of the Board of Regents, chancellors and other administrators, and search committee members are inappropriate and will not be honored,” Howard Hawks said in the statement.
     “To do so would present a problem of fairness and it is not practical to track and offer comparable opportunities to all candidates.”

     Hawks said in an interview he wants potential applicants to know the regents intend to have a completely fair search process. “I think it was important to have it be known that we’re not going to provide any applicant an advantage over all other candidates knowingly,” he said. “Our search consultants and me personally have some concerns that this will have a dampening effect on applications. I think that’s the history of this.”
     Asked whether the governor should have kept his application quiet, Hawks said, “He could have.”

Governor Heineman, pictured with a weasel.
Heineman is on the right.
     In 2014, Heineman subjected candidates to the State Board of Education to an irrelevant gay litmus test (see picture below): Do you support or oppose adoption of children who are wards of the state by gay and lesbian parents?
       In 2013, Heineman refused a gay couple an adoption waiver, blaming Nebraska's antigay adoption policy on a memo from the 1995 Health and Human Services director instead of simply revoking the policy.
     In 2012, Heineman opposed the extension of domestic partner benefits to gay (and straight) NU employees. At Thursday's press conference, where he  announced his decision to apply for the NU presidency vacancy and then shamelessly campaigned for it while on the clock in his current state job, he was asked about that opposition; his response was that since the Board of Regents (subsequently) approved the benefits, his job as president would be to execute the board's decision.
     In 2007, Gov. Heineman refused to comment on guidelines that his administration's Health and Human Services System prohibited diversity teams from providing programs about gay and lesbian issues and wouldn't say whether he agreed or disagreed with the policy.
      At the time, the Lincoln Journal documented the hostility of his administration toward even the discussion of LGBT issues.
But some members of HHS diversity teams in Omaha and Lincoln recently resigned after administrators prevented programs that included discussion of gay and lesbian issues.
     In Omaha, at least 10 of 24 team members quit when administrators stopped a program and panel focusing on gay and lesbian issues.
     One of the invited speakers said the administration first stopped a daylong training and then said the group could not host a shorter program offered after work hours.
     Committee members were told they could not discuss gay, lesbian and transgendered issues on state time, said Betty Dorr, past president of Omaha PFLAG, a group representing parents, family and friends of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons.
Click picture to enlarge sufficiently to read bottom query
Questionnaire excerpts via the Omaha World-Herald.

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