At the Dec. 9 Board of Trustees meeting, three Grand Rapids Community College students stood up to deliver speeches criticizing board members Richard Ryskamp and Richard Stewart.
“…you have established your own personal standard of morality and wholesome living principles and held the school to them with no regard to other opinions and lifestyles,” said Eirann Betka, President of StandOUT, GRCC’s gay-straight alliance.
Ryskamp has consistently spoken against homosexual public speakers and theater productions sponsored by GRCC, and has repeatedly recommended defunding the programs that support them.
Nic Bush, vice-president of StandOUT, voiced concerns that GRCC’s image is being tarnished for future students. He noted that his younger sister has questioned some of the writing that Ryskamp has published on his Facebook page.
“We as students, prospective students, and human beings, have the right to be treated with respect,” he said.
Ryskamp declined to comment at the meeting, but has since made contact with the students.
“I am pleased to have heard from StandOUT since the meeting, that they would like to dialogue with me,” Ryskamp said in an email. “I would hope to discover with greater specificity exactly what StandOUT would like to see happen and exactly what has led to the difficulties, and why.”
The next regular board meeting is scheduled for Jan. 27.