RCCD Board of Trustee member should face reprimand

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Illustration by Madison Moore

A member of an entity, whether they choose to or not, is a brand ambassador for said entity.

In the case of the Riverside Community College District, whether a student, staff member, faculty member or district administrator engages in questionable behavior those actions reflect on the the district.

In the past weeks a member of the RCCD Board of Trustees has been under scrutiny by media and members within the district.

On Aug. 3 Board of Trustees Vice President Nathan Miller sent out a Tweet on behalf of the Riverside County GOP Twitter account that included what can be perceived as threatening language and imagery to the democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

The post was made in response to a woman asking where she could find signs that said, “Republicans for Hillary.”

The Viewpoints editorial board believes Nathan Miller should face some consequences for his actions.  

It’s not a new trend for politicians or members of opposing parties to toss banter or criticisms back and forth. However, once threatening imagery or language that would suggest violent behavior comes into play, these actions should be closely examined and scrutinized.

Mary Figueroa made a statement at the Board of Trustees meeting on Aug. 16,  in which she told those in attendance that Miller’s actions had violated Board policy 2715.

This is enough to call for action. The Board president has the right to appoint a committee with two board members to determine if a member who violates the policy should be censured.

The policy states that board members are responsible to act only in the best interest of the entire community and to respect others and act with civility and “The Board of Trustees will promptly address any violation by a Board member or Board members of the Code of Ethics in the following manner.”

Miller’s actions certainly do not reflect the views or interests of the entire RCCD community, but that of his own interests as a republican opposing Clinton.

Students deserve a representative who understands that there can and will be consequences to their actions whether they view them as a negative or not.

Board President Virginia Blumenthal publicly accepted Miller’s apology and condemned his actions.

However, there are no apparent consequences or reprimanding of his violation of board policy.  

Miller had sent out a statement with his apology, but did not apologize and grasp the wrong doing of his actions while at the meeting.

Many members of the public as well as the RCC faculty association do not see Miller’s apology as sincere.

“I didn’t know he had apologized,” Sherri Yates a professor at the RCC said. “He didn’t apologize tonight.”

Many members of the public did not know that he had issued an apology or statement prior to the meeting.

Yates is one of the many individuals disappointed by Miller’s tweet.

“There is good guilt and there is bad guilt,” Yates said. “It’s not okay. It’s inappropriate,” she said. “It’s not how a trustee should comport himself.

Miller’s apology was not clear nor sincere, which could be interpreted as more of a statement versus an actual apology.

Even though there were more opposing comments towards Miller there were still some who felt he did no harm.

“The tweet while unnecessary does not reflect the Nathan Miller I’ve known for the last few years,”Guarav Taneja ,a member of the public, said. “I respectfully ask the Board, everyone here and Nathan Miller that he stay on the Board and represent us and if they voters so chose they may decided to do what they want to do in nov but until then he must stay here and represent us to the best of his ability like he has for the last few years.” 

As first amendment supporters our editorial board at Viewpoints strongly supports freedom of speech.

However, freedom of speech  does have its restrictions. It does not include the right of freedom from consequence or repercussion when used to encourage violent behavior.

As students of RCCD and members of our surrounding communities we feel that we deserve a far more clear apology one that can overwrite his actions so we can feel comfortable knowing we have leaders with integrity.