Ohio University President Duane Nellis.
Ohio University President Duane Nellis. [Hannah Schroeder | WOUB]

OU President: No ‘Flaw In the Process’ in Former LGBT Center Director’s Removal

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Editor’s Note: delfin bautista uses they/them pronouns and does not capitalize their name.

ATHENS (WOUB) — The president of Ohio University denied a grievance by the former LGBT Center director, saying the way in which they were removed was not flawed.

delfin bautista.

In an email sent Tuesday and provided to WOUB by the university, President Duane Nellis addressed a grievance filed by delfin bautista, who has said the non-renewal of their contract was done in an unfair and insensitive way. They have also said previously that Vice President for Diversity & Inclusion Gigi Secuban did not give a reason to remove them from the position.

The decision not to renew bautista’s contract was previously appealed to their supervisor, Secuban. Secuban denied the appeal.

In his denial to reinstate bautista, Nellis said a decision not to renew “is not a termination for cause… [it] is based upon the needs of the University as determined by appropriate University leaders.”

“These decisions are never easy and are sometimes controversial,” Nellis wrote in the email to bautista. “But these decisions are an inherent and indispensable prerogative of the administration.”

The removal of bautista was met with protests and outcry immediately after the decision was made public.

Nellis acknowledged bautista’s “contributions to both the University and the community” and said he believes bautista has done and “will continue to do meaningful things.

He also wrote in defense of Secuban, saying the university “selected a qualified candidate to undertake the responsibilities of this critical role.”

Nellis added that Secuban “must have the discretion to make changes in order to realize our common goal of improving the University’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.”

The president saw bautista’s grievance as a complaint against Secuban’s treatment of bautista, and raising concern about the process in which they were removed.

“Collectively, however, your grievance merely critiques your personal disagreements with the Vice President and wrongly suggests improper motives on the Vice President’s part,” the email stated.

The grievance had not indentified “any flaw in the process,” Nellis wrote.

You can read the full response from Nellis here.

bautista can now take the grievance to the university’s Administrative Senate for review.