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Academy to review hiring processes

Nov. 22, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson
Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson said the academy is reviewing its hiring procedures 'to ensure they are legally sound, equitable and unbiased.' (Brennan Linsley/The Associated Press)
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The Air Force Academy’s superintendent on Nov. 22 pledged to review hiring processes after coming under harsh criticism for employing a senior official who has an extensive history of work with organizations that seek to change gays’ and lesbians’ sexual orientations.

Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson said in a statement that while the academy remains confident in its personnel and hiring practices, it is reviewing its hiring procedures “to ensure they are legally sound, equitable and unbiased.”

The review will also specifically focus on the 2009 hiring of Mike Rosebush, who is an operations research analyst for the academy’s Center for Character and Leadership Development. He developed a program at the academy called Mosaic Personalized Coaching, which is part of the character and leadership 101, foundations of honorable living course, which is required for fourth-class cadets, or freshmen. The academy said Rosebush analyzes data to evaluate the effectiveness of the Mosaic program.

Johnson said the academy knows of no complaints against Rosebush since he was hired, and said he has effectively performed his duties. However, the academy is also reviewing its complaint system to make sure nothing was missed.

Rosebush published a book called “Sanctification Coaching: Sexual Purity and Peace for Christian Men With Same-Sex Attractions” the same year he was hired by the academy. The book offers ways for gay Christian men to “achieve sexual purity, peace and heterosexual confidence,” according to the summary on Amazon.com.

Gay and lesbian organizations blasted the academy after news of Rosebush’s employment emerged. The organization Truth Wins Out, which advocates against therapies to change gays, called him an “ex-gay charlatan” and called for his firing. And the American Military Partner Association, which advocates for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender spouses of military service members and their families, issued a statement condemning the academy’s hiring of Rosebush, but stopped short of calling for his firing.

In her statement, Johnson denied reports that Rosebush is the academy’s “point man for building ‘character’ and ‘leadership’ here.” That is a team effort, Johnson said, headed up by Rosebush’s boss, Col. Joseph Sanders, the director for the Center for Character and Leadership Development. Johnson also said Rosebush does not personally coach cadets.

The academy released another statement on Nov. 21 that said Johnson and other senior officials met Nov. 19 with Spectrum, the academy’s affinity group for gay and lesbian cadets. The academy said cadets in that meeting said they do not feel the academy’s culture has been unwelcoming.

“The cadets of Spectrum expressed multiple times that the academy is a safe and validating place to be” gay, lesbian, bisexual or questioning, Capt. Michelle Reinstatler, the officer in charge of Spectrum and an instructor in the academy’s English and fine arts departments, said in the statement.

The academy has also scheduled a conference call between reporters, Reinstatler and three cadets from Spectrum.

The Amazon summary of Rosebush’s book said he was the professional counselor’s network director at Exodus International, the now-defunct ex-gay ministry. For 37 years, Exodus promoted reparative therapy and efforts to change gay and lesbian sexual orientations. But in June, Exodus issued a statement apologizing to the gay community and closed its doors.

Rosebush also was a clinical member of NARTH, the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, which advocates for therapies that seek to change people’s sexual orientation. NARTH says on its website that it is a scientific and professional organization and not a religious organization, but many of its officers and board members have backgrounds with Christian organizations.

The Amazon page also says Rosebush is a former vice president at Focus on the Family, which is a Christian organization that advocates against same-sex marriage.

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