As students and faculty of Washtenaw Community College learned about the story surrounding former counselor Cole Jordan, reaction on the campus has varied, but administrators were staying quiet.
“He was a cool dude. He was always laid back and about his job,” said Prince Logan, an 18-year-old business student from Ypsilanti. “It’s good that he turned himself in, but if he got away with it for so long, I don’t know why he did. It’s funny, I went to go see him last week and he wasn’t there. Now I know it’s because he’s in jail.”
Jordan, has said that the reason he came forward was because he wanted to set a good example for his two sons and take responsibility for his actions. That example was not lost on students at the college familiar with the story.
MCT Courtesy Photo
Ronald Bridgeforth, 67, center, flanked by counsel Jason Cueva, left, and Paul Harris, right, speaks to Judge Lisa Novak in the courtroom at the San Mateo County Courthouse in Redwood City, Californa, Thursday, November 10, 2011. Bridgeforth, an alleged member of the Black Liberation Army, a Black Panther Party splinter group, turned himself in Thursday morning to face charges related to a gun battle with South San Francisco police more than 40 years ago. Bridgeforth had been living under the name Cole Jordan in Michagan for the past four decades.
“You can’t always hold people accountable for the things they have done in the past. He made up for it in his job helping people here. You can’t judge people on things like that,” said Anna Olsson, 17, a culinary arts major from Ypsilanti.
One of Olsson’s fellow culinary arts students felt the same way, but understands the other side of the argument.
“People do things with a good reason, even if goes back that far. Sometimes you can make a wrong a right. If he helped that many people out, then that counts for something,” said Hannah Stadelman, 18, of Ann Arbor. “Maybe back then he had some personal things going on, but you can never really know. But I can see how some people can feel like they were lied to. Some may feel betrayed.”
Others on campus were not so forgiving of Jordan’s transgressions.
“What’s wrong is wrong. You can’t do something that long ago and skate by and not have it come back to you. If you hurt someone, you hurt someone. Whether you stole $10 or $1,000, you still stole something,” said an employee of the college of who asked not to be named. “I don’t know (referring to whether or not turning himself in makes a difference). Ask the families of the police department on whether they think that makes a difference or not. Some people around here thought he was a nice guy, but if you talk to other people, they’ll tell you that he was rude. He walked around here like he was above the law. When he became a boss it was worse. You can’t expect something that long ago to not come back and catch up with you.”
Meanwhile, administrators have declined comment, sending all inquiries through the public relations department. Janet Hawkins, the associate director of public affairs, said the college had no prior knowledge of Jordan’s past and that he did not give a reason for quitting his job, when he resigned. Hawkins added that the college would not be helping raise funds for Jordan to post bail, but employees of the college were free to make their own decisions.
Jordan, whose real name is Ronald Stanley Bridgeforth is in jail in San Mateo County, Calif. Jordan’s lawyer, Paul Harris, told The Washtenaw Voice today that the Jordan family is “very, very close” to posting bail and he expected Jordan to be released from jail Friday night.