FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM)- Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan and University of Arkansas Chancellor G. David Gearhart have voiced opposition to the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce’s resolution against the controversial civil rights ordinance, according to city documents.
The ordinance, passed in August by the Fayetteville City Council after nine hours of public discussion, is set to be voted on by the public after a petition with 5,714 signatures on it was turned in to Fayetteville City Clerk Sondra Smith. A special election scheduled for Dec. 9 will ultimately decide the fate of the ordinance.
It prohibits local businesses and entities from discriminating against customers and others based on gender, race, sexual orientation, gender identity and other factors. On Nov. 7, the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce adopted a resolution stating they supported the repeal of the civil rights ordinance.
On Nov. 10, Jordan sent a letter to Bill Bradley, chairman of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, and Steve Clarks, president of the chamber, stating he and Gearhart opposed their resolution that takes a stance against the civil rights ordinance.
In the letter, Jordan identifies himself and Gearhart as ex-officio members of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce Board. He called for the board to “rescind its decision to oppose and lobby against the civil rights ordinance,” the letter states.
“I was surprised to learn of this decision since I received no notification of the board meeting in which it was considered, and I was certainly disappointed in the announced decision to work for the repeal of the ordinance,” Lioneld said.
In his own letter, Gearhart also asked the board to rescind its recent action against the civil rights ordinance. Gearhart said he thought he should have been included, as an ex-officio board member, in the meeting where the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce Board made the decision to oppose the ordinance.
“The failure to include all ex-officio members in the discussion contributes to the perception that the board operated under a veil of secrecy and was opposed to any divergent views,” Gearhart said.