The January Board of Trustees meeting Wednesday had a larger than normal attendance of roughly 90 people, due in large part to a controversy surrounding a KCC employee who posted a Facebook photo of himself protesting at a recent political rally.
Overflow seating for community members attending in support or criticism of the employee was provided in the Binda Performing Arts Center.
The meeting went to public comment within the first 12 minutes. First to speak was KCC’s Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer Jorge Zeballos, who has faced criticism and praise over the past few weeks for posting a photo on his personal Facebook page of himself holding a protest sign during the Dec. 18 Trump rally in Battle Creek.
The sign included profanity directed at President Donald Trump and other Republican White House officials.
“I want to offer a sincere apology to the Board, my colleagues, Dr. Bennings, students and the community for the impact that my actions have had and the reactions they have generated,” Zeballos said at the meeting. “I am committed to moving forward being much more mindful of any actions that I take and the impact that they might have on this institution. I also firmly commit to taking any steps necessary to repair any trust that has been broken.”
Twenty-eight people spoke during the public comment period. Roughly 20 spoke in support of Zeballos while eight spoke against his behavior.
At the end of the public comment section of the meeting, Board Chair Steve Claywell thanked the crowd for coming to express themselves and said the Board will not lose its focus to provide education to the community, and issues like this will not slow their momentum.
In other business, new KCC President Dr. Adrien Bennings gave her first President’s Report and the Board discussed enrollment and scholarship updates, financial statements and employee recognition for years of service.