Ursinus College in Uproar Over Offensive Tweets From Board Chairman

The subject matter ranged from Caitlyn Jenner to yoga pants to Barack Obama. A fellow board member has resigned, and students are calling for more action.

Photo by Ursinus College

Photo by Ursinus College

Controversy is swirling over past tweets from the chairman of the board of trustees at Ursinus College, Michael C. Marcon, after a student posted them last week.

Marcon’s tweets and retweets, which range in subject matter from Caitlyn Jenner to yoga pants to Barack Obama, are now all over the internet, despite the fact that Marcon has deleted them. The tweets are being called “elitist,” “racist,” and “sexist” by students and staff alike.

Marcon’s Twitter timeline is currently clogged with tweets about Bruce Springsteen, but the Inquirer posted text from some of his more controversial tweets, which are no longer available:

“Yoga pants? Per my DTW visual survey, only 10 percent of users should be wearing them. The rest need to be in sweats – or actually get dressed.”

“Just saw an Aborigenese in ‘full gear’ talking on an iPhone. What’s next Ben Franklin driving a Tesla?”

“Got to love a janitor with a ‘Ban Fracking Now’ sticker on his bucket. Barack is clearly reaching his target demographic.”

And a retweet, which read:

“Bruce Jenner got 25 K for speaking engagements. Caitlyn gets $100K. What wage gap?”

Marcon, an insurance executive and 1986 Ursinus graduate, wrote a statement addressing the tweets, which were posted on his personal account before he became board chairman.

In the statement obtained by the Inquirer, Marcon said he was “sorry for creating a situation that has led to frustration, confusion and disappointment … More is expected of a trustee, and I resolve to live up to the college’s high standards.

“Not only do I know how much frustration 140 characters can cause, but I’ve now been on the receiving end of many difficult online comments that are painful for my wife and children to read.”

The statement was unsatisfactory for David Bloom, a fellow Ursinus board member who resigned over the tweets on Sunday, calling Marcon’s email statement an attempt “to rationalize and justify his published writings.”

Bloom also called for Marcon to step down, according to the Inquirer, and claimed the tweets are “strong evidence of an elitist, racist, sexist, body-shaming, anti-LGBTQ, exclusive-minded and generally intolerant individual.”

Ursinus president Brock Blomberg said in a statement that the university was “certainly disappointed with the tweets,” which he said “are not reflective of the true spirit, core values, and culture of our Ursinus College.”

Dominick Knowles, a 2015 Ursinus graduate, wrote an email to Blomberg, calling Marcon’s statement a “milquetoast non-apology” and urging Blomberg to “to do something radical and respectable” and “take a stand.”

Knowles posted a photo of what appears to be a reply from Bloomberg, which refers to Marcon’s statement.

The student who posted the tweets, Jordan Ostrum, wrote an op-ed published in The Grizzly, the school’s student-run newspaper, in which he asked Marcon to “meet in person” in attempt to “learn from each other and develop a plan of action for bettering our school.”

Marcon is set to meet with school officials and students tomorrow.

Follow @ClaireSasko on Twitter.