A student government representative at the Rochester Institute of Technology is facing calls for his impeachment because he refused to join other student government members in claiming the Thin Blue Line is “overt racism.”
The Thin Blue Line refers to law enforcement, who have been denigrated across the United States for the past few years due to incidents involving the police-involved deaths of black people. Some of those killed were unarmed, others were attacking police or resisting arrest, yet protests and riots broke out across the U.S. where violent mobs attacked innocent police officers in the name of racial justice.
RIT student senator Jacob Custer, according to The College Fix, refused a blanket condemnation of police officers and is now being targeted for impeachment. The Fix reported that 21 other student senators signed a petition to impeach Custer.
“These actions include, but are not limited to, negative attitudes towards members, blatant disregard of the effects of controversial topics such as Blue Lives Matter and how it affects the Black and Brown community, and blatant disregard for anyone’s views,” the petition says.
As the Fix reported, the other student senators decided to impeach Custer in part due to his contributions to the RIT student government’s group message app.
“The effort to impeach Custer stems in part from conversations through the student government’s group message app where representatives discussed filing a bias report over a campus safety officer who wore a Thin Blue Line face mask, according to screenshots of the conversation presented by the petition’s authors as evidence against Custer,” the outlet reported.
Custer disagreed with his fellow representatives, defending the officer’s Free Speech right to wear the mask.
“Wearing such masks if they want to is not counterintuitive. It is perfectly okay for students and adults to express it since it is free speech. It is not disrespectful either. We are student government, representing all students. It is not our role to determine what idea is good or bad simply because a few members or more disagree with it and punish members of our community over something small. That is just outright censorship,” Custer wrote.
Others in the group chat started criticizing Custer for his statements.
“[I]t’s honestly humorous that a White man is going to sit here and try to tell someone of color, more specifically Black, when something is or isn’t racist,” one senator said.
“Breaking news: Jacob Custer is angry and taking a stand against people of color because he isn’t allowed to disagree with the idea that Black people don’t deserve to be murdered,” said another.
Custer told the Fix that the group discussion was not civil.
“They were taking a club to try and beat down the conversation and actually tried to shut down politicians in general or force their view,” he told the outlet
The other student representatives cited other disagreements they had with Custer as additional evidence for his impeachment. A counter petition has been launched to protect Custer.
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