The University of Kansas student body president’s sharing of a Twitter post wishing “death to America” was “disappointing and concerning,” the school’s chancellor said in a statement on Thursday.
KU Chancellor Douglas Girod and Cheryl Harrison-Lee, chair of the Board of Regents, addressed Student Body President Niya McAdoo’s Sept. 3 retweet of a message saying, “happy Friday everybody. Death to America.”
Both agreed that McAdoo’s retweet was protected free speech but they also distanced themselves from the remark.
“Recently our university’s student body president shared a social media post that many Jayhawks – myself included – found to be disappointing and concerning,” Girod said in a statement issued Thursday.
“The opinions in the student’s post are protected by the First Amendment. In addition, KU is committed to its role as a marketplace of ideas – including ideas that some individuals find offensive,” Girod said.
“At the same time, I understand and appreciate why many individuals have found the content of the student’s post offensive.
“I strongly disagree with the sentiment of her retweet, and I want to make clear that she does not speak for the university on this or any other matter.”
Harrison-Lee shared a similar message.
“The sentiments shared by KU’s Student Body president this past weekend on social media do not align with the Regents’ beliefs or the type of productive dialogue we hope to encourage on our university campuses,” Harrison-Lee said.
“U.S. citizens strive daily to make a more perfect union. Often times we fall short. Nonetheless, we are proud to be Americans and despite its imperfections we are proud to call America home,” she said.
McAdoo’s retweet on the KU student body president account grabbed national attention last weekend when conservative talk-show host Todd Starnes called it out to his 181,000 Twitter followers.
“Hey Kansas taxpayers — are you okay with this?” Starnes tweeted last weekend.
McAdoo characterized her comments this way on Twitter.
“Please know that it is death to an America that was built on Indigenous genocide and the backs of Black slaves.
“If you’re worried about people in the service of the military, be mad at your government because my words shouldn’t make you this mad.”
She followed it up with another tweet later this week.
“It’s very telling that more people are concerned with a re-tweet opinion and not the actual racial and sexual violence that has happened in student senate and on KU campus.
“Where is the outrage for Black and Brown folks? Where is the outrage for sexual assault survivors?”
The retweet did draw the attention of some Republican lawmakers on Facebook.
“The comments are deeply offensive,” Republican state Sen. Kellie Warren posted on Facebook.
“It is ironic that she’s endorsing death to America, when America’s liberties are what gives her the freedom of speech to say such outrageous things in the first place,” wrote Warren, who is running for attorney general.
“The remedy is for KU students to demand an atmosphere of civility and respect and not elect student government leaders who further incite the very hatred and division they claim to oppose.”
McAdoo told the Lawrence Journal-World that she has no intention of stepping down from her position.
“To me, America is not this sunshine and rainbows place that some people like to view it as,” McAdoo told the newspaper.
“For Black and Brown people, this isn’t, you know, the greatest place in the world.”
It’s very telling that more people are concerned with a re-tweet opinion and not the actual racial and sexual violence that has happened in student senate and on KU campus. Where is the outrage for Black and Brown folks? Where is the outrage for sexual assault survivors? pic.twitter.com/4AhQANoup8
— KU Student Body President ✨ (@KUPresident) September 6, 2021
Please know that it is death to an America that was built on Indigenous genocide and the backs of Black slaves. If you’re worried about people in the service of the military, be mad at your government because my words shouldn’t make you this mad. https://t.co/EpUDQlgcup
— KU Student Body President ✨ (@KUPresident) September 3, 2021