Members of the University of Kansas Senate Executive Committee went into a 30 minute executive session Tuesday to discuss the recent controversy surrounding the retweet of Student Body President Niya McAdoo that read “Happy Friday everyone. Death to America.”
Before the executive session, Sen-Ex members briefly discussed in an open meeting both the retweet of McAdoo and the recent allegations of sexual assault on campus.
Student Senate Vice President Ethan Roark said they expect an eventful Student Senate meeting Wednesday in light of recent events on campus.
“We’ve been told that multiple reporters, groups and other folks are intending to show up to the meeting,” Roark said. “We are going to be trying to make it the most orderly as we possibly can.”
Roark also said they appreciated the support they received from the faculty senate and other members of university governance.
“With everything going on with students right now and with the protests that occurred last [Monday] night, just continue to send those calls to care and reach out to your students as things are developing over these next few weeks,” Roark said. “I think that’s all that we can hope for.”
Roark also said they have failed to receive any communication from the chancellor or provost in support of McAdoo.
“We’ve primarily had outreach from Dr. Durham, the vice provost for student affairs, but in terms of upper administration support, we really haven’t received any internal communication,” Roarke said.
Sen-Ex and Faculty Senate Member Corey Maley brought up a similar situation that recently occurred at Syracuse, in which a professor at the university posted multiple tweets criticizing white people for continuing to discuss the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks 20 years after they happened. Maley said KU administration should mirror Syracuse’s response.
“The chancellor there and another upper administrator did an admirable job of coming out and saying that they totally supported the faculty member,” Maley said. “I just heard that she (McAdoo) has received death threats now. I think it would be good for the chancellor and/or provost to come out and say that that is unacceptable to anyone that’s a member of the KU community.”
University Senate President Hossein Saiedian also addressed the recent allegations of sexual assault at KU’s Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.
“This is very concerning,” Saiedian said “It is important to reach out to students in any way possible to express hurt for them. I’m sure many of them are very concerned. Their concerns are legitimate. They need our support.”
Roark additionally said people have been spreading the names of both the victim and the suspect through social media platforms, such as YikYak. They said this kind of behavior should be curbed and encouraged others to stop this behavior when they see it.
“It’s leading to a lot of people who are basically denying her story and basically saying that she’s lying,” Roark said. “So I think, in terms of moving forward and respecting the victim’s privacy in this, we should be making sure she can have peace of mind.”
Saiedian said he agreed, and that sexual assault in any form should be strongly condemned.
“She is a victim," Saiedian said. "Nobody in her position should be shamed. It is the suspect that should have to be condemned.”
Sen-Ex decided to go into an executive session to discuss these items further off the record. The session lasted about 30 minutes. None of the items were discussed further after the executive session ended.