Greek adviser removed after Twitter post

Monica Kast

The coordinator of Greek Affairs has been removed from her position after a post she made following the presidential election last week was shared around the university community, according to student activities administrators.

Alexandria Kennedy, student activities coordinator and former adviser for Greek organizations, used explicit language in a tweet and referred to Trump voters as “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic.”

Kennedy was contacted for comment but did not respond in time for publication.

Charley Pride, director of student activities, confirmed that Kennedy still worked for student activities but was no longer an adviser for Greek organizations.

After protests on campus last week, President Gary Ransdell released a statement calling for unity and respect across campus. The statement was also posted to Ransdell’s Facebook page.

While most comments on the Facebook post were positive, others commented on the post with screenshots of Kennedy’s tweet, and accused Ransdell of discriminating against white people.

“Hey Gary why don’t you just come out and say that you don’t think white people work for what they have and that you’d like to see less of them,” Chris Carmichael, a 2013 WKU graduate, wrote on Facebook.

Later, Carmichael said his statement was an “observation based on the views of the employees of WKU to which [Ransdell] is a sponsor.” He also commented, “Gary ‘Death threats against white students are fine. Triggering a minority is expulsion’ Ransdell.”

Carmichael also sent Kennedy an email, which was obtained by the Herald, saying that he was “shaking in anger,” and “sick” because of Kennedy’s comments.

In an email obtained by the Herald, Kennedy forwarded Carmichael’s email to Brian Kuster, vice president for student affairs, and wrote she did not respond to it.

Beth Kelley posted a screenshot of Kennedy’s tweet on Facebook, calling Kennedy’s language “unacceptable especially with the position that she currently holds. She does not speak for all students.” In response to Kelley, Amy Bishop wrote she was “happy,” and thought the post would “begin dialogue.”

Kelley responded by writing that Kennedy had “stooped to Trumps [sic] level of social media posts/rants” and “not getting any message across by name calling.”

After Kennedy’s tweet, she posted on Facebook later that night, saying that she was “literally SHAKING from fear.”

“I’m so disappointed right now,” Kennedy wrote on election night. “I cannot cry enough tears. I cannot pray enough. I can only hope and I can only make sure that I’m there fore [sic] those who are more scared than I am.”

According to Corie Martin, director of web services and digital marketing at WKU, there is no official social media policy in place for faculty and staff. There is a Communications and Branding Manual, which “serves as a guide to faculty and staff departments and offices of how to use social media … specifically for official WKU-sponsored social media and web-based accounts,” Martin said.

“It is not a mandate, but more of a best practices set of guidelines,” Martin said in an email. “The one that is public on the WKU Marketing and Communications website right now is 6-years-old, and very outdated. We have a new version that has been updated significantly that will soon go before the WKU Administrative Council for approval as formal policy.”

However, Martin said there is no official policy for social media use or reprimanding for misuse by WKU faculty and staff.

According to the WKU Discrimination and Harassment Policy, any student, employee or third party who believes they have experienced discrimination or harassment can make a formal report within 30 days of the discrimination or harassment. Included in the definition of discrimination and harassment is behavior or abuse “based upon … political belief.” The report will be investigated and “corrective action” will be taken if the report is found to be true.

It is not known at this time if a report has been filed for this incident by Kennedy or other faculty members.

Reporter Monica Kast can be reached at 270-745-6011 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @monicakastwku.