Arizona students seek Kyle Rittenhouse removal from online nursing classes

·3-min read
<span>Photograph: Mark Hertzberg/AP</span>
Photograph: Mark Hertzberg/AP
  • Group at Arizona State University demand teen be banned

  • Rittenhouse acquitted of murder during Kenosha protests

A small but vocal alliance of left-leaning students at Arizona State University (ASU) is demanding Kyle Rittenhouse be removed from online classes, despite the teen’s acquittal this month on charges of murdering two men and injuring another during protests for racial justice in Wisconsin last year.

The 18-year-old has been celebrated in rightwing circles after a jury decided he acted in self-defense when killing and wounding the men in Kenosha in August 2020.

Rittenhouse told the court he had enrolled in nursing classes at ASU. An investigation by an Arizona TV station, 12News, revealed he was taking a virtual class, not attending in person.

Nonetheless, members of groups called Students for Socialism ASU, Students for Justice in Palestine, the Multicultural Solidarity Coalition and Mecha de ASU want university officials to “withdraw” Rittenhouse from class and ban him from campus.

“Our campus is already unsafe as is and we would like to abate this danger as much as possible,” a spokesperson for Students for Socialism ASU told Fox News in a statement.

“The goal of these demands is to let the ASU administration know that we do not feel safe knowing that a mass shooter, who has expressed violent intentions about ‘protecting property’ over people, is so carelessly allowed to be admitted to the school at all.”

Many gun control activists consider a mass shooting to be any incident in which at least four people are killed or wounded, not including the shooter.

The ASU alliance was planning a “killer off our campus” rally at the university’s Tempe headquarters on Wednesday.

It was unclear on what grounds Rittenhouse, who was described last week as a “really a nice young man” by Donald Trump during a visit to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, could be removed from the ASU nursing course.

Rittenhouse’s enrollment status is also uncertain. In a statement to the Guardian on Monday that did not distinguish between online and in-person classes, a university spokesperson said: “Kyle Rittenhouse has not gone through the ASU admissions process. He is not currently enrolled in any classes at ASU.”

Officials earlier told 12News Rittenhouse was not enrolled in the Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation, and that the class he was enrolled in was for “non-degree seeking students” who might later seek admission to a degree program.

Rittenhouse was 17 when he shot the three men with a M&P 15 semi-automatic assault rifle during a protest over the police shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake, two days earlier. He claimed he travelled from his home in Antioch, Illinois, to attend the protest as a medic, offering help to anybody injured while protecting property.

His lawyers played up his employment as a part-time lifeguard but conceded that although Rittenhouse told people in Kenosha he was a trained emergency medic, he had not received any formal training.

During the protest, prosecutors said, Rittenhouse acted as a vigilante, shooting dead Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and wounding Gaige Grosskreutz, 27.

He was acquitted of all charges, including first-degree intentional homicide, on 19 November, the jury’s fourth day of deliberations. The verdict was greeted with dismay by many across the US but praised on the political right.

In a controversial interview with the Fox News host Tucker Carlson, Rittenhouse insisted he was “not a racist person” and supported the Black Lives Matter movement.

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