In social media posts this week, The National FFA Organization said that it has removed Western Region Vice President Lyle Logemann over social media posts he made prior to his service as national officer.
“We have confirmed that Lyle made these posts, and he admits were at the very least inappropriate, insensitive, and reflected views that are not in keeping with the ideals of the National FFA Organization,” the FFA said in its social media statement. “These statements violate our code of ethics and especially our commitment to appreciate and promote diversity in our Organization. Lyle understands and is remorseful that he has offended many individuals and violated the code of conduct for FFA members and national officers.”
The National FFA Organization didn’t add any more detail about the content of Logemann’s posts.
“Because of the nature of National FFA’s quasi employment relationship with national officers,” the FFA said, “we have handled the sensitive details of this matter with the guidance of our human resource department. While this is a personnel matter, it is also in the public’s view. After much discussion and deliberation, based upon a pattern of behavior that we cannot tolerate, I can communicate that the following actions have been taken and are effective immediately:
- “Lyle Logemann has been removed as a National FFA Officer,
- “We have offered additional counseling and sensitivity training, and
- “FFA will continue to operate for the remainder of this officer year with five national officers.
The officer’s removal follows a Facebook post the FFA made earlier this week, which acknowledges criticism the organization has faced “over our stance, or perceived lack thereof, on inclusion, diversity and equity in general, and on the Black Lives Matter movement specifically.”
Thursday’s post announcing Logemann’s removal continued by saying, “As an organization, we are troubled by this situation. We have failed in the vetting process for national FFA officer candidates and failed in the preparation of Nominating Committee members for the important work they conduct. We simply must improve. In the future, all national officer candidates will be subject to thorough background checks, including vetting of their social media activities by external professional firms. We have mistakenly relied on the traditional process of nominating, questioning, and selecting national officers to discover this type of information. However, we can no longer tolerate an ad hoc process that does not discover potentially egregious information. We will elevate our efforts to vet nominating committee members and better train them for the task at hand. We will also provide additional guidance to our state associations to help them present candidates to us for consideration that are qualified for the offices they seek.
“We are saddened for all involved that we have had to address this situation at all and to have had to do so in such a public forum. We deeply regret that our failures to properly vet candidates contributed to this situation. National FFA staff members work tirelessly to create opportunities for training and development of our members and national officers, but this matter demanded the unprecedented step of removing a national officer for the good of National FFA and for the benefit of our ongoing efforts to advance inclusion, diversity and equity in our organization. We intend to provide more about our plans and concrete objectives regarding inclusion, diversity and equity, while continuing to seek counsel from professionals who will help us become an even more welcoming place for young people from all walks of life. Our members should expect nothing less. And neither do we.”
FFA supporters have conveyed split feelings on the decision in the comments section on Facebook and Instagram, but ultimately the decision was met with approval from FFA members.
One person said, “Difficult decision and the I believe the right decision. I wish Lyle the best and hope he grows from this experience. I believe FFA members will learn from his experience as well. I am glad National FFA will include social media as part of the vetting process. It is important in this day and age.”
Conversely, other perspectives included this one: “As a former FFA member, I am very disappointed. What a person said years or months ago may no longer reflect what they now believe. People change and that positive change should absolutely be accepted.”
There was no word yet on what will be done to fill Logemann’s position as Western Region Vice President.