These xenophobic and racist comments are deplorable. It’s disheartening to see comments like these in the public arena. It shows the racist and anti-immigrant attitudes that are pervasive in our society and state. Our heart goes out to those students who were specifically named, and to all students who feel disparaged by the remarks.

The First Amendment does not protect employees of private companies who make such statements in representing their employers. And in the case of employees who are charged with making public commentary, it is entirely reasonable for employers to ensure that their comments don’t undermine the goals of the station, which we assume are to have a positive, inclusive role in the community. Such comments also contribute to a hostile and discriminatory workplace, which employers have an affirmative duty to protect against under state and federal civil rights laws.

Contact Steve at 641-421-0527 or on Twitter @Steve_Bohnel.

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