Ursinus Board Chairman Resigns Over Tweet Controversy

Michael Marcon had discussed the “offensive” tweets at several meetings with students, faculty, and staff, prompting "a larger campus debate about civil discourse."

Photo by Ursinus College

Photo by Ursinus College

Ursinus College president Brock Blomberg announced yesterday that Michael C. Marcon, an insurance executive and 1986 Ursinus graduate, has left his position as the school’s board chairman after meeting with students who were concerned about tweets on his personal account that they termed “elitist,” “racist,” and “sexist.”

“I was proud of the way the Ursinus faculty and staff allowed me to address a situation that has been so concerning to the Ursinus family; however, in order for true healing and true growth to take root, it needs to occur under fresh leadership of the board of trustees,” Marcon said in a statement. “The students, faculty, staff, parents, and alumni deserve the greatest chance for renewal at this time, and so I believe it is in the best interest of the Ursinus family that I resign as chair of the board of trustees.”

The tweets, which were initially discovered and posted by Ursinus student Jordan Ostrum, quickly spread on social media. When Marcon deleted the tweets (he eventually removed his account entirely), a collection of screenshots circulated via Odyssey.

Some of Marcon’s tweets, according to the screenshots:

“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:

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

The tweets, which were posted before Marcon became board chairman in July, prompted outrage from the college community. One Ursinus board member, David Bloom, resigned after Marcon initially gave what Bloom believed was an unsatisfactory apology for the tweets, in which Marcon attempted “to rationalize and justify his published writings,” Bloom said.

Blomberg called Marcon’s meeting with students and staff last week “a learning experience for our community,” which “led to a larger campus debate about civil discourse.”

The board plans to hold a meeting on September 22nd to address further leadership transition at the college, a liberal arts institution located in Collegeville, Pennsylvania. Taking over for Marcon is Nina Stryker, a 1978 Ursinus graduate and partner at a Philadelphia-based law firm.

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