As embattled Columbia Heights school board member Grant Nichols once wrote of himself on Facebook, “Grant is No pussy.” To his crass, testosterone-y point, the alleged bigot stubbornly refused to vacate his post amid calls from the community, his peers, and even Gov. Mark Dayton to just go away.
But Tuesday night he officially caved.
Weeks after an inflammatory Facebook post from his account suggested Muslims don’t use toilet paper and make lavatory messes, Nichols stepped down from the suburban school board. Even in his resignation, Nichols has steadfastly denied that he wrote the Muslim diss, claiming someone hijacked his phone. In a Friday meeting with Muslim leaders and local government officials Nichols flashed a notarized letter from an unnamed person fessing up to the comment. But not even a guy with an official stamp could save Nichols’ seat.
“This district has been an important part of my whole life,” Nichols wrote in his resignation letter. “I have loved being a part of it, and I’m glad for the ways I was able to make it better, both as an active community member and in my short time on the school board. I take responsibility for the online Facebook comment about some of my co-workers at my full-time job in Chanhassen that was offensive to the Muslim community. I apologize to them all for the hurt it caused.”
When not embroiled in controversy, the ousted public servant works for a direct mail and marketing company where people of all religions pee in the same place.
Whether or not Nichols wrote the fiery comment, he has a history of getting chirpy online and weighing in on the whole Israel-Palestine thing (guess who’s on Team Jew?). Nevertheless, at least one Muslim community leader who met with Nichols and believes in the integrity of the public notary seemingly bought his apology and phone-jack defense.
In a statement following Nichols’ decision to hang it up, Jaylani Hussein painted Nichols as a pro-Muslim fella.
“We have accepted his apology and applaud his efforts to be an advocate to Muslims everywhere and especially in Columbia Heights,” says Hussein, executive director of Minnesota’s Council on American-Islamic Relations chapter. “We have also accepted the resignation as an additional sign of good faith. It’s important to understand that Muslims are Americans as well and they deserve the same rights and responsibilities.”