Dec. 12 update: The Upper Moreland School District put out a press release Monday afternoon announcing that board member Jennifer Solot would resign in January because of the controversy over her remarks at the previous week’s school board reorganization meeting. A copy of the district’s statement can be found here.
The Upper Moreland School Board on Wednesday rejected a candidate to be president of that body at least partly because the candidate was white and cisgender — meaning he does not identify as transgender — and elevating someone with those characteristics to the position of board president would run counter to the school district’s values, a board member said.
“I believe that Mr. [Greg] D’Elia would make an excellent president,” board member and treasurer Jennifer Solot said. “However, I feel that electing the only cis, white male president of the board of this district sends the wrong message to our community — a message that is contrary to what we as a board have been trying to accomplish.”
“I think it’s important that we practice what we preach, and that our words have strength when they are spoken, whether we speak them from the neighborhood sidewalks or from behind these tables,” Solot added.
The board then elected April Stainback on an 8–1 vote. D’Elia voted for himself.
Stainback and D’Elia were the only two persons nominated for board president. The board member who nominated D’Elia, who is unknown currently because they were not on camera when the nomination was made, ultimately did not vote for the candidate they nominated.
Some of the board members were obviously torn during the vote, as some of them like Rose Huber and Sarah Byrnes paused before declaring their choice. It’s not clear if the hesitation on those votes was strictly due to the diversity argument presented by Solot.
The board’s decision comes as school boards, organizations and corporations have shifted to directly hiring based off of race, gender and other identity characteristics, mainly as part of the national racial following the George Floyd murder in Minneapolis in 2020.
“[Companies] created new roles to steer diversity, equity, and inclusion, aiming to close the gap on race, gender, sexuality, and other underrepresented groups as it pertains to hiring or promotions,” a Fortune report from 2020 noted.
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But those efforts to diversify can sometimes be legally tricky.
“Diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) programs are top of mind for employers as they aim to build better workplaces and attract the best talent in a tight labor market, but employers may unintentionally violate equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws as they seek to diversify their workforces and develop internal programs to promote fairness,” an article from the Society for Human Resource Management reported.
Requests for further comment from all nine of the board members have not been returned, but will be added if received.
Upper Moreland is based in Willow Grove in Montgomery County, and serves about 3,200 students, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. The district include Upper Dublin Township, Abington Township, and Upper Moreland Township.
Todd Shepherd is Broad + Liberty’s chief investigative reporter. Send him tips at email@example.com, or use his encrypted email at firstname.lastname@example.org. @shepherdreports
6 thoughts on “Upper Moreland School Board rejects candidate for board president because he was “cis, white male””
Wow, we are diverse by not being diverse. We are not racist or sexist by being racist and sexist.I wonder how the members of the Board who expressed their racism by voting race, determined that this is what the community they represent, desperately want race and sex-based personnel decisions. I wonder if they would vote for Hitler if he checked the appropriate boxes for “diversity.’
I don’t know about Upper Dublin, but doesn’t Abington Township have its own school board? At least that’s the board that raised my school taxes this year and I live in Abington Township.
I live in Abington and found this to be one of the most hypocritical decisions I have ever come across. In addition, its flat out the most blatant example of systematic racism, that is racism supported, enforced, or maintain by a system be it bureaucratic or otherwise, that I have come across. As a democrat who often sees both sides of the argument, this simply further supports the notion that democratic activism drowns out truth and commits perverse prejudices of its own in the name of tolerance and inclusion. This is just another example of how it has become impossible for the sane middle to exist in a country that insists on forcing its citizens into a dichotomic choice between neo authoritarianism on one side and complete abdication of reality and facts in the name of activism on the other. Shame on that school board member for racist, genderist decision making and shame on the other members for not calling her out for it and being silently complicit in her actions.
Too true. I would add this is more ‘systematic’ than ‘systemic’. The latter is a product of a system, often not consciously intended. The former is explicitly built into the system.
This is so racist, sexist and unfair. We need to vote on qualifications, not on race or sex. Why are there more women on this board than men? We need men for their input and talents in helping our schools and children. As a woman, I am very sad that a man would be treated this way. I hope the parents of Upper Moreland High School will have the courage to push back on this craziness!
Just how i’d imagine she would look!