Last week, Bob McDonnell announced his newest appointment to Virginia Tech’s Board of Visitors – John Rocovich, the chairman of a Roanoke lawfirm.
Rocovich served on the board under Gov. Jim Gilmore. During that time, the university’s board repealed the school’s policy against antigay discrimination. The issue came to light again last March with Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s letter to Virginia universities requesting the removal of non-discrimination policies that included sexual orientation.
Equality Virginia chairman Mark Board issued a statement last week about the McDonnell’s appointment.
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,” said Mark Board, chairman of the group in a statement today. “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.
“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.”