An incident report accusing student council member Kurt Killinger of furnishing alcohol to minors has been submitted to Student Life. The report details one of many reasons some students and staff believe Kurt Killinger, who has an extensive criminal record and multiple felony convictions, is not suited for student government. As of this publication, college administration has taken no disciplinary measures.
The incident report, submitted by Central Oregon Community College student Mable Jackson, detailed Killinger furnishing alcohol to minors at an Oregon Students of Color Coalition conference on October 26, 2013. At the hotel where a delegation from COCC was staying, Jackson saw at least one minor coming and going from Killinger’s room with alcohol.
“I couldn’t honestly say I saw Kurt hand [the underage student] the bottle, but I saw [the student] in his room,” Jackson said. “[The student] was intoxicated.”
Student government members sign a form saying they will not drink alcohol on student government trips as part of their student conduct agreement, according to Gordon Price, director of student life. But furnishing alcohol to minors is also a crime under Oregon Revised Statute 471.410.
This is the only incident Jackson spoke of in the report, but she said it’s just one of many. During her time with OSCC, an equal-rights activism board run by the Oregon Student Association, Killinger has allegedly intimidated Jackson and tried to control how she voted.
“He’d just say ‘you’re voting for this,’” Jackson said.
But when Jackson’s friend Patti Tanewasha came on the board, the two began making their own decisions together and Killinger became “hostile,” they claim.
“I feel betrayed,” Jackson said. “I feel like he manipulated me, knowing I was new on the board as a staff member.”
Killinger denied all allegations, including controlling votes.
“Mable, Patti, and Stephanie [Pedro] have asked my opinion on how to vote on issues throughout the year,” Killinger said in an email to The Broadside. “I have never tried to influence anybody how to vote.”
Killinger has intimidated Jackson and Tanewasha so much, they claim, that they have anxiety about coming onto the Bend campus. It is Jackson’s first term taking classes at the Bend campus, and she won’t go into the Multicultural Room in the Campus Center because she’s afraid of walking past the student government office.
“Kurt is treating us like shit,” Jackson said. “I don’t need anyone to treat me like that.”
Jackson finally decided to do something about it. She contacted Gina Ricketts, director of the Native American program at COCC.
Ricketts knew Killinger from his paid work with her program and had originally encouraged him to run for student government. Ricketts regrets those actions now.
“I’ve been a champion of Kurt’s since he got here,” Ricketts said. “I thought it was a great opportunity for him. I didn’t think it would turn out this way. … I have been very disappointed with him.”
When Killinger came to COCC he was on probation, according to Oregon State Police records obtained by public records request on April 18. Killinger has at different times been convicted of multiple felonies and a misdemeanor.
Ricketts encouraged Jackson to submit an incident report, which she did on April 11. As of May 15, Killinger has heard nothing of the incidents.
“I have not seen any reports,” Killinger said in an email to The Broadside. “Nor have I been disciplined in any way.”
Ricketts can’t believe the college hasn’t done anything.
“Tell me why nothing has happened?” Ricketts said. “Whomever has not been able to make Kurt accountable for things sends the wrong message. … Do we want to send the message ‘no matter what you do, you’re not going to be accountable’? And do we also want to send the message that ‘if you come to us because you feel like you’ve been in a hostile situation or you feel like you’ve been discriminated against, we’re not going to do anything about it’?”
Gordon Price, director of student life, declined to comment on the issue between Jackson and Killinger.
“When we receive incident reports, there’s a process and a policy,” Price said. “All those are made available to the students. … If a student feels they’re not being heard, there’s a process out there to get that addressed too.”
Tanewasha was going to submit an incident report as well, but alleges that she was told by Price that since they had Jackson’s, another was not needed.
Tanewasha feels that Killinger is “a big trigger” and that she’s been discriminated against.
“My comfort level has crashed,” Tanewasha said. “I’ve never felt this out of place.”
Scott Greenstone | The Broadside