Senator Criticizes UA Chancellor Over Letter Written To Chamber On Ordinance 119
FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) – A state senator took to Twitter this week to criticize the University of Arkansas chancellor for a letter he wrote to the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce on the civil rights ordinance in Fayetteville.
Sen. Bart Hester, R-Cave Springs, sent out four tweets on Wednesday (Nov. 12) critical of Chancellor G. David Gearhart after he wrote a letter to the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce asking it to rescind its recent action against Ordinance 119.
Through a university spokesman, Gearhart said on Thursday (Nov. 12) he doesn’t have a Twitter account, hasn’t seen Hester’s tweets and has no comment on the issue.
After opponents gathered 5,714 signatures in a petition drive, the ordinance, passed in August by the Fayetteville City Council, was placed on a special election ballot to be voted on by the public Dec. 9.
The ordinance prohibits local businesses and entities from discriminating against customers and others based on gender, race, sexual orientation, gender identity and other factors. On Nov. 7, the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce adopted a resolution stating it supports the repeal of the ordinance.
In one tweet, Hester says the University of Arkansas and Gearhart are using tax dollars to “support preventing pastors from practicing free religion.”
In his Nov. 10 letter, Gearhart says he should have been included, as an ex-officio board member, in the discussion about the chamber’s opposition to the ordinance.
“The failure to include all ex-officio members in the discussion contributes to the perception that the board operated under a veil of secrecy and was opposed to any divergent views,” Gearhart said.
In another tweet, Hester says Gearhart and the University of Arkansas are using tax money to put the “preference of an adult over the safety of a child.”
The state senator wrapped up his tweets by saying Gearhart’s 2015 budget for the University of Arkansas hadn’t been approved yet. “I cannot support #neveryield,” a tweet states.
The Legislature meets again in Little Rock in January.
Hester also says in a tweet that Gearhart’s stance on the ordinance indicates he supports a “grown man sharing a public bathroom” with a 7-year-old girl.
To read Gearhart’s letter to the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, click here.