KCC Uses 1st Amendment To Defend Staff Member’s Profanity Laced Attack At The President
Last week I informed you about the Kellogg Community College (KCC) Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer Jorge Zeballos who many feel embarrassed himself, his family, KCC, the Kellogg Foundation and the city of Battle Creek at President Trump’s Battle Creek Christmas rally.
I want to emphasize “I” informed you because, as of this morning, the Battle Creek Enquirer has not written a single word about this. Do you think if a college professor from Hillsdale would have done what Jorge Zeballos did when Obama was in office they would have ignored it and hid it from their readers?
Not many people would have known of his shameful and foul-mouthed act if he himself was not so proud of it. He posted a picture of himself on his Facebook page which he has now taken down or restricted access to.
For those of you who do not know all the details, please click on the links I have provided you and you will be well informed.
The short and sweet version is as follows:
As I stated in the piece I wrote last week, I was amazed when someone pointed me to a Facebook posting of the Kellogg Community College (KCC) Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer Jorge Zeballos with a picture of him holding a sign.
He was holding that sign at President Trump’s Christmas Rally in Battle Creek. That sign read as follows:
The words F@%k were actually spelled out. I am not a crude person like Jorge Zeballos appears to be, so I used the symbols in place of the letters.
Kellogg Community College has responded. Well, sort of. They posted the following statement on their daily online public paper KCC Daily:
Statement from KCC Board of Trustees Posted on Jan 7, 2020 by Kellogg Community College
In recent days, Kellogg Community College representatives have received expressions of concern and support regarding a KCC employee’s display of personal expression during and after a recent political rally in Battle Creek. We have appreciated the dialogue and the opportunity to participate in mutually constructive reflection with people who have called and written to us. The KCC employee in question was expressing his personal opinion on his own time, and not acting on behalf of the College.
KCC is a politically neutral, tax-funded institution of higher learning, and does not side with any political party or campaign message.
However, this matter is a teachable moment and healthy reminder for all KCC employees that our actions as individuals can have an impact on the institution. Whether that impact affects an individual’s employment status at KCC, positively or negatively, is a determination made via KCC’s ongoing performance management process, which is appropriately confidential and involves an employee and others empowered by the institution to manage performance.
At KCC, our mission is to provide accessible, high-quality education to enrich our community and the lives of individual learners. As a marketplace of ideas, we remain committed to freedom of speech and freedom of expression as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. We also remain committed to creating an inclusive environment where we celebrate commonalities and foster respect for others and our differences.
I find it interesting that KCC is attempting to hide behind the canard of “free speech”. This issue is not a “free speech” issue. As I stated in a previous piece I wrote:
Does he have First Amendment rights to say and do what he did? Yes!
Does he have the right to a job as a Chief “Equity and Inclusion Officer” at a college? No!
His action reeks of irony. Here is a person who tells the world that he is so inclusive that he should be a Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer anywhere, let alone a college, yet his actions show he is anything but inclusive. In fact, he should be the Chief Inequity and “Non-inclusion” Officer.
Will Kellogg Community College stand for such behavior? Well, to date and by their response, it appears so.
The problem here is not free speech, but someone who is in a position of being the Kellogg Community College (KCC) Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer not being inclusive at all. It appears this person is harboring quite a bit of hate and aggression in him. What might he do next with that hate?
In a press release announcing his hiring KCC said:
Kellogg Community College today announced the creation of a new Office of Equity and Inclusion at the College as the institution expands its commitment to creating an inclusive environment that fosters respect, supports cultural understanding, demonstrates ethical behavior and champions social justice...KCC also announced Jorge Zeballos will lead the new office as Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer.
Well, does protesting our President, or really anyone in the manner in which he chose, with the words he thought long about, then committed those words to a sign create “an inclusive environment that fosters respect, supports cultural understanding, demonstrates ethical behavior? Will KCC stand up to what they said in their press release or in their mind is this “respect” and “ethical behavior” they speak of a one-way street?
Jorge has responded, on his Facebook page he wrote:
Recently I posted a picture on my page of me holding a sign at a rally to protest Trump’s visit to Battle Creek. While I stand by my first amendment right to express myself, I understand that my public and private actions have repercussions on the institution I work for, Kellogg Community College. Because of this, I deeply regret posting the picture on my Facebook page and the controversy it has generated.
Anyone that has interacted with me, both professionally and personally, knows that I strive to have respectful dialogue on some of the most challenging issues with anyone that holds a different opinion than mine. This incident doesn’t change who I am and what I stand for, creating a more equitable and inclusive society.
Notice that he did not apologize for his actions or the shame he brought to himself, his family, KCC, the Kellogg Foundation and the city of Battle Creek. He only “regrets” getting caught.
Click here to contact any Kellogg Community College Board member.
The next Kellogg Community College Board of Trustees Meeting is Wednesday, January 15 at 6:30 p.m. on the 3rd floor of the Roll Building.