To the Editor:

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