Tempe, Arizona – Groups of Arizona State University students protesting Kyle Rittenhouse’s ties to the school marched on Wednesday, nearly getting into a brawl with their conservative supporters.
Nearly 100 people gathered on the Phoenix suburban campus to urge the university to disown the 18-year-old who was acquitted of murder in November following a shooting during last year’s Kenosha, Wisconsin riots. They went to the administration office, repeating phrases like “Killer Kyle is from our campus.”
Zane Hajayg, a freshman, was among the protesters. It doesn’t matter to him that Rittenhouse is “legally not a murderer.”
“I don’t think anyone who has had a similar experience would be able to be here at all,” said Hajig. “I think we all know that it goes without saying that he was there to bully and hurt people of color or people who support the Black Lives Matter movement.”
Rittenhouse testified that he was acting in self-defense when he killed two men and wounded a third with a semi-automatic rifle during protests against the shooting of black Jacob Blake by white police Kenosha.
In his testimony, Rittenhouse also said that he took lessons online at ASU. University officials confirmed that he was an online student at the time. This is no longer the case.
“Kyle Rittenhouse didn’t go through the ASU admissions process. According to our data, he is currently not studying in any class of the ASU, ”the university said in a statement.
There is no rule prohibiting him from reapplying. Rittenhouse said in recent interviews that he is considering going to work as a lawyer or nurse and is likely to leave the Midwest.
David Hancock, a spokesman for the Rittenhouse family, did not immediately respond to text messages asking for comment.
Student organizations want the university not to allow Rittenhouse to register online or in person. Other demands include a statement against white supremacy and increased support for multicultural spaces on campus.
Jay Thorne, an ASU spokesman, declined to comment on the planned rally.
Rittenhouse’s supporters were about the same. Many had signs and hats from the Kari Lake campaign. They tried to shout down the rally, uttering remarks like “Not guilty. Former Phoenix TV host is running for Republican governor of Arizona.
Former Republican Matt Salmon, who is running for governor of Arizona, called the rally “an ongoing campaign of harassment” against someone who has not been convicted of a crime. In a statement, he also criticized university staff for not speaking anymore.
“It’s time for the extreme left to respect our judiciary, and it’s time for ASU administrators to uphold the rule of law and protect their students from these thugs.”