Arizona State University (ASU) Thursday defended a photo circulating the internet that depicts a woman on its campus holding a sign that says “Death 2 America” during Wednesday’s anti-Kyle Rittenhouse protests.
”University campuses are synonymous with free speech, an environment for the vigorous discussion and debate of ideas,” an ASU spokesperson told The Arizona Sun Times. “Differences of opinion, from all sides, should be explored in a peaceful exchange.”
The photo was taken by Drew Hernandez, an independent reporter who attended the protest.
ARIZONA: ASU socialists proudly holding “DEATH 2 AMERICA” signs to protest Kyle Rittenhouse attending online classes at the university even though he is no longer enrolled at the school pic.twitter.com/hVaVtphHwz
— Drew Hernandez (@DrewHLive) December 1, 2021
Hernandez was also present at the August 25, 2020 riot in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where Rittenhouse shot and killed two rioters in self-defense. He testified at Rittenhouse’s trial.
In its statement, the school also told The Star that “many of the people who attended the rally yesterday were not students, they simply came to campus to exploit this opportunity.” It did not specify whether the woman photographed is a student.
ASU’s Students for Socialism led the Wednesday protests, who demanded that Rittenhouse be barred from attending the school, even online.
During his trial, Rittenhouse said he was enrolled in an online nursing program at the school, which ASU confirmed at the time.
Before the protests though, ASU said that the 18-year-old was not enrolled at the school.
“Kyle Rittenhouse has not gone through the ASU admissions process,” ASU told The Sun Times earlier this week. “He is not currently enrolled in any classes at ASU.”
It later clarified that Rittenhouse attended two publicly-available online courses over the summer. He later withdrew from those courses voluntarily, citing the overwhelming nature of his then-upcoming trial.
When asked whether Rittenhouse was welcome to apply for admission to the university, ASU responded affirmatively, despite this week’s protests.
There were some counter-protestors who showed up to ASU to defend Rittenhouse.
At one point, a “Let’s Go Brandon” chant, popular among right-wingers as code for anti-Joe Biden sentiment, broke out and drowned out the protest’s organizers.
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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “ASU Student Holds ‘Death 2 America’ Sign” by Drew Hernandez.