Campus Pride Blog

Equality Virginia takes issue with anti-gay board appointment

vatechlogo.jpgThe chair of Equality Virginia is taking issue with Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s decision to appoint an anti-gay Roanoke lawyer to the board of Virginia Tech early this month.

Attorney John Rocovich has previously served on VA Tech’s board, and as rector led board members to rescind its commitment to affirmative action and prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

“Equality Virginia is disappointed that the Governor would look to the past in making board appointments and choose to reappoint John Rocovich to the Virginia Tech board,” Equality Virginia chairman Mark Board said in a statement July 1. “During Mr. Rocovich’s tenure as Rector of the VA Tech Board in 2003, he led the board to revoke the University’s commitment to affirmative action and to repeal the University’s prohibition against discrimination based on sexual orientation. When his term expired, Governor Warner replaced him on the Board, and the new board reversed these actions. Given this past history, the Governor’s decision to reappoint Mr. Rocovich to the Tech Board sends a negative message to the Hokie nation about the sincerity of the Governor’s commitment to the enforcement of his executive directive #1 and his commitment to ensure Tech’s GLBT employees and students are protected from discrimination.”

McDonnell spokesperson Stacey Johnson told The Washington Post‘s Rosalind Helderman, “The governor has appointed a diverse group of Virginia leaders to these positions. Mr. Rocovich is a leader in the business and education community. The governor believes this makes him an excellent choice to serve the Commonwealth and Virginia Tech on its board of visitors.”