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A Black university official at the University of Alabama resigned Thursday after far-right news website Breitbart published his tweets from years ago. In the tweets, Jamie R. Riley wrote critically about police brutality and race in America.
Riley, the University of Alabama’s assistant vice president and dean of students, resigned within a day of the article’s publication, according to campus newspaper the Crimson White.
In their article, Breitbart shared screenshots of tweets Riley wrote in 2017.
“The [American] flag represents a systemic history of racism for my people,” Riley tweeted in September of that year. “Police are a part of that system. Is it that hard to see the correlation?”
In another tweet a month later, he wrote, “I’m baffled about how the 1st thing white people say us, ‘That’s not racist!’ when they can’t even experience racism? You have 0 opinion!” He followed it up with “#missmewithyouprivilege.”
Riley’s accounts on Twitter and LinkedIn were unavailable on Friday afternoon when the Daily Dot ran a search. He did not respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comments.
Chris Bryant, University of Alabama’s assistant director of communications, confirmed Riley’s resignation with the Crimson White.
Riley’s tweets echo verified facts, validated by recent data showing police officers routinely post racist sentiments on their social media. Research also shows that cops are more likely to be brutal towards communities of color, especially the Black community.
It’s unclear on what grounds Riley resigned. The provost of the university did not respond the Daily Dot’s requests for comment.
People on Twitter are outraged.
White supremacist publication Breitbart has forced a Black Prof (Jamie R. Riley) from his job at @UofAlabama for mild & truthful Tweets— Lisa Tilley (@Tilley101) September 6, 2019
This is appalling to say the least - @UofAlabama clearly failing students & faculty in times of fascist resurgence. https://t.co/7Qxaz5ZNj0
@UofAlabama Asst VP and Dean of Students, Jamie R. Riley forced to resign over resurfaced tweets. I personally don’t see what was controversial about the tweets. He spoke facts. pic.twitter.com/I9b0TvqIEH— E Nichole (@iam_ericanicole) September 6, 2019
Dr. Riley really got forced out for... speaking facts?? The @UofAlabama didn’t even let black folks attend school here until the ‘60s. Now they force a great Dean of Students to resign for simply mentioning that America has a history of systemic racism? I’m ashamed. https://t.co/9oLMOlFczw— Bailey Lanai (@BaileyLanai) September 5, 2019
This is so disturbing.— zellie (@zellieimani) September 6, 2019
Jamie R. Riley, the University of Alabama’s assistant vice president and dean of students, resigned from his position on Thursday after less than seven months on the job.
Just because Breitbart found his tweets and called him a racist.
A racist. pic.twitter.com/TezWtjgOah
Love how @UofAlabama “supports diversity” until it comes to critiquing the root causes of social & racial inequity ...— Sarah Cheshire (@CheshireCatSaid) September 6, 2019
UA is all about supporting free speech until that free speech becomes “problematic” for their majority white administration.— Jack Kappelman (@thekappeljack) September 6, 2019
Free speech isn’t conditional. I’m ashamed of my school.
Everything he said was true. I wish him the best success, too bad this institution continues to show that it in no way has its black students’ interest at heart. Maybe one day...— #MissMeWithYourPrivilege (@CasuallyAllur3) September 6, 2019
According to the campus newspaper, Riley had started his position in February.
Samira Sadeque is a New York-based journalist reporting on immigration, sexual violence, and mental health, and will sometimes write about memes and dinosaurs too. Her work also appears in Reuters, NPR, and NBC among other publications. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School, and her work has been nominated for SAJA awards. Follow: @Samideque