The Associated Student Government at Emporia State University in Kansas tried to impeach the student body vice president for using the term “illegal alien” on her personal Facebook page. The vote failed a two-thirds approval vote with 11 votes in favor, seven against, and three abstentions.
Campus Reform reports that Michaela Todd, a senior at the university and Campus Reform correspondent, was called to resign by fellow students and the Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
Todd used the phrase “illegal alien” in a supportive Facebook post about former Kansas gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach prior to election day on November 6.
“Put Kansas first, not illegal aliens,” she wrote. “The millions of dollars spent on public welfare for illegal aliens in Kansas hurts Kansas taxpayers every single day.”
In July, the Justice Department instructed U.S. attorneys to use the term “illegal alien” instead of “undocumented immigrant” because the “word ‘undocumented’ is not based in US code and should not be used to describe someone’s illegal presence in the country.”
Students took screenshots of Todd’s post and shared it on social media labeling her post “racist” and “ignorant.”
The Multicultural Greek Council said that Todd “does not represent us” on Twitter and called on the university to “take the measures needed to show us that she does not represent ESU either.”
Todd says she edited her post and deleted the phrase “illegal alien” after hearing that it upset some of her constituents, but says she doesn’t regret it.
“It was the correct term to use for the context of my post,” Todd told The Daily Wire. “While I do not regret my post or the language in it, I do understand that it upset certain people, and that was not my intentions behind it. The purpose of my post and the language in it was to reiterate what Kobach stood for and how his leadership would benefit Kansas.”
The student government Diversity and Inclusion Committee also called for Todd to resign last week, threatening to move forward with the impeachment process if she did not resign by Monday, according to the student newspaper. On Wednesday, the committee rescinded its call for her to resign because of concerns over their own “safety and wellbeing.”
“Our committee would like to clarify that we did not intend to make Vice President Todd feel isolated in her community,” the statement said. “We want to make the systemic issues on campus more visible and be voices for marginalized students.”
Todd also said that the criticism she received upset her but believes that the solution is calling for better dialogue.
“It was crushing to see my peers call me an unfit leader, ignorant, and racist solely based on one post I made, expressing my political beliefs,” she said. “ESU strives to be a campus of diversity and inclusion, but the diversity of political thought is next to none. I have been taught that I may not be able to control what people say or do to me, but I can control how I react. Which is why I am dedicated to having better dialogue between students and myself, so that together we can learn and grow from listening to different perspectives and beliefs.”
After the Campus Reform article was posted, Todd says many of her fellow senators have claimed they received online attacks from people who do not attend the university.
“I have heard through other people on campus that senators are also receiving major backlash for the actions that they have made,” Todd stated. “They should not have to endure that, and I will support them through this.”
Todd does not plan to step down from her position and said that this will serve as a learning experience.
“My hope is that through this whole issue, we the students are more open to having civil dialogue about different views and beliefs,” she said. “I have faith that our student body will be able to come out of this stronger and establish a new inclusive campus.”
On Thursday, the student government canceled its weekly meeting because of “serious concerns for the safety and well-being of the campus community.”