Recently-acquitted Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse should be banned from attending class at Arizona State University, hundreds have demanded online. Others plan to rally against his planned shift from online to in-person classes.
Rittenhouse, who was found not guilty earlier this month by reason of self-defense after shooting three rioters in Kenosha, Wisconsin last August, enrolled in remote nursing classes at Arizona State University just weeks before his trial began in October. Having since been acquitted, he plans to re-enroll and live on campus, according to recent reports from local media.
One group of Rittenhouse's would-be classmates have taken up the cause of keeping him off-campus, however. A Change.org petition started by ASU student Taskina Bhuiya has collected over 800 signatures denouncing the "ridiculous" not-guilty verdict and insisting ASU "should be a safe and inclusive place for all students, which will be disrupted if Kyle Rittenhouse is allowed to attend this school."
The petition insists Rittenhouse be "held accountable for the crimes he has committed" and refers to him as a "murderer" who is being allowed to "roam around freely," despite his acquittal.
There is no law that would prohibit Rittenhouse from attending college classes, whether remotely or in person - but that doesn't appear to matter to student activists.
A constellation of student groups including Students for Socialism, the Multicultural Solidarity Coalition, Students for Justice in Palestine, and Mexican American student group MEChA de ASU have even endorsed a "Rally and protest to get murderer Kyle Rittenhouse off our campus" set for Wednesday at the school's Tempe campus - where Rittenhouse does not reside.
Rittenhouse was painted as a "white supremacist" by the media and politicians during the trial- and the case was framed by one former prosecutor as one of "white privilege on steroids." President Joe Biden, who had also previously branded the teen a white supremacist, said he was "angry and concerned" after the not-guilty verdict.
The three men shot by Rittenhouse - whom his lawyer successfully motioned could not be referred to as "victims" during the trial - were present in Kenosha during what a CNN chyron called a "fiery but mostly peaceful protest" in which rioters had already destroyed several businesses in the area on the previous night. The protests, which devolved into riots, followed the non-fatal shooting of black man Jacob Blake seven times by police.
Rittenhouse, whose father lived nearby, testified he was there to help protect a car dealership in his neighborhood, although the owners of the business denied they had asked him to do so.