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Former student pushes JCCC ‘Discomfort’ complaint. President Calaway responds.

By   /   May 27, 2010  /   6 Comments

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Former student Kathy Brown tells JCCC Board of Trustees about her complaint

(Updated 6/26)   Johnson County Community College former adult student Kathy Brown took her “Discomfort Doctrine” complaint to the Board of Trustees.

She told them at a meeting last week she did not get equal process because she is a conservative.

Brown’s complaint alleges suppression of speech and suppression of the right to free assembly through the college’s “discomfort doctrine.” She has been working through the college’s complaint process for 15 months.

Brown, an attorney and a nurse, enrolled in the LPN to RPN bridge program for nurses.

Last month Brown described her early JCCC experiences as an adult student:

… I was only here a few weeks before I had an astonishing experience. I was in a human anatomy and physiology class under Professor John Clark. I was having a private conversation with another student after the class was finished. As we filed out of the lab the professor overheard our conversation, and upon overhearing it, leaned over the desk, stuck his finger in my face, and said, ‘Stop. You cannot ask those questions here. You cannot have this discussion here.’

Both myself and the young man with whom I was speaking were astonished. And we inquired as to why. When we did so, the professor stated it looks as if the person you’re talking to is becoming ‘uncomfortable’. …

Brown told about a private meeting with Dean of Sciences, Csilla Duneczky, who informed her of the college’s “discomfort doctrine,” which attempted to regulate speech so no one was ever “uncomfortable.” But Brown said this doctrine applied to her, not to everyone.

Brown said the discomfort doctrine “only applied to certain groups of people” and “they will tear you up” if you disagree with the diversity list, or the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

According to Brown, “the only people that ever got shut down were — you guessed it — conservatives, Catholics, people who didn’t agree with gay marriage. People who identified themselves as traditionalists.”

“I joined the diversity list. I was incomparably stupid. I had no knowledge — had not stepped on a college campus in 15 years. I had no clue that was ‘code’ for you’d better be sure you’re not a conservative, you’re not a Catholic, you don’t belong to what [Diversity Fellow] Kami Day called a “conforming religion. … you better be sure you don’t voice that you don’t agree with gay marriage.” …

“I voiced my dissent. I was savaged in every particular. Leading the charge was Carmaletta Williams, the head of the ODEI …”

“I referred the complaint to Dennis Day, who did everything in the last year to obstruct it, including violating your policy, which calls for two officers to investigate it. … He obstructed the complaint. …”



At the May Board of Trustees meeting Brown said she was looking for resolution for the complaint she filed over a year ago.

She described obstruction by JCCC President Terry Calaway when his assistant Sue Kuder stalled her:

“Look. Dr. Calaway and the lawyer, Mark Furgeson, have decided you don’t need a review. You don’t get one. You’ve had enough of an investigation.”

Only after Brown reminded Kuder that “review by the President is not discretionary. It is mandated” was she allowed to meet with Calaway.

Now frustrated with the result of the review by Calaway, Brown is bringing her appeal to the whole Board of Trustees. Brown told Board Chair Jon Stewart, “you will have it tomorrow,” after he suggested a formal written complaint addressed to him at the meeting last week.

According to Brown, “eventually there’s federal court where this level of speech suppression by higher institutions who get state and federal money is unlawful.”

Brown also said she was frustrated at the May meeting by a recent quick decision in an unrelated discrimination matter when her discrimination complaint has taken so long:

“LUNA had a discrimination complaint the other day. In three days it’s resolved. Three days. That completely validates my complaint that says if your concern is on the ‘left’, you get due process, full due process. If your concern is on the ‘right’, like mine was, it’s 15 months and now you’re on the record telling me that I’m the person who delayed it. That is an utter and complete falsity, sir.”

After seeing Brown in the video online of the April meeting, Tammy Clem from Stilwell attended the May meeting and spoke in support of Brown.

Clem: “It’s time for a change. How that’s going to happen, I don’t know.”


(Updated 6/2) Mark Ferguson, attorney for JCCC, responded to a Kansas Open Records Act (KORA) request.

After discussions by E-mail, Ferguson released a commissioned investigation report about Brown’s complaints  conducted by attorney Anne Kenney Molloy from Encompass Resolution LLC.  This document was later put online at  the JCCC website:  Investigator’s report regarding an alleged violation of a student’s right to free speech at JCCC.  Read this report below.

Brown released these comments about the investigation report:

I hereby formally deny the overall accuracy of said Report and allege its bias towards the Respondent JCCC, which paid her for same. However, I will respond to those inaccuracies/falsehoods in full at a future date.

Investigation Report: Complaint of Kathy Brown


Update (6/26).  JCCC President Responds to Kathy Brown


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