New Pres. of UVU is a Credit to Institution

In the March 23 edition of the UVU Review, Aaron Heineman submitted a Letter to the Editor expressing his objection to the selection of UVU’s new president, Matthew Holland.

Aaron, let me be the first to say, I am with you. I am an adamant believer that a learning institution should be unfettered by religious overtones and cultural homogeny. However, I believe this in light of my activity within the LDS church, not despite it.

I feel UVU offers a very unique education. I recently had dinner with the dean of George Washington’s Law School, and had the opportunity to showcase our institution. Can you believe that she mentioned that one of their biggest feeder schools was BYU? “How strange,” I thought, “that in all their homogeneity BYU seems to be consistently producing world-class students!” I was not shy in letting her know that we intend to make UVU the biggest feeder school for George Washington Law School. She was amused at my insistence but I really felt my argument hit a chord with her. I spoke of the hardworking culture that the LDS community is known for, but also explained that UVU stands out by offering experience with a very diverse faculty and administration. My own list of favorite professors at UVU includes an atheist, a Mormon, a Presbyterian, an agnostic and a variety of others who kept me guessing the whole time.

Yes, this is Utah, and most of those students you see walking around are LDS. But to assume that the religion of the president would have any real effect on our curriculum is to ignore the recent administration of William Sederburg, an active Lutheran.

I was able to interview Matt Holland hours before he was announced as our new President. Again, I’m with you Aaron; I told him we didn’t want to be BYU junior. His vision was right on the money, and before you transfer to Westminster, go talk with him. He is first and foremost a true academic and exudes leadership and vision. Go talk with him. He’ll change your mind.

Thomas Merrill


Same old cronyism abounds with selection of Matthew Holland

I am disappointed to learn that the Utah State Board of Regents has selected BYU poli-sci associate professor Matthew Holland – son of the current Mormon apostle, who was the president of BYU.

When does the separation of church and state cease to exist and nepotism and cronyism begin to flourish which might render the Utah Valley experience for non-Mormon students displeasing to the point of feeling unwelcome?

Dr. Holland is clearly an unqualified candidate among the pool of applicants who have far more significant experience in leadership expertise. Not to mention some rejected candidates bear a marked respect for the vision of an academic institution that is independent of religious, political, and communal influence that does not create an atmosphere that augments the diversity of cultures and viewpoints.

The onset of administrative encumbrance at UVU as “mandated” by the socio-cultural effect of the LDS religion will demonstrate to non-Mormons – gays and lesbians, different religious affiliations, freethinkers, and atheists — that UVU might transform into a mini-me BYU. Academic freedom is crucial to both students and faculty, and a dominant religious faith should not interfere with UVU’s progress in providing the best education for non-Mormons.

This State Board of Regents’ decision furnishes the further proof that Mormon homogeneity in Utah Valley is the rule rather than the exception. The analogy is white bread tastes stale compared to wheat. The choice of a new UVU president will negate the world’s view of Utah not for scenic beauty but as an eminently theocratic state where free thought and reasonable dissent is looked down upon as heretical.

– Aaron Heineman