Alabama Dean Resigns Following Tweets on Racism

Dean of student affairs quits following the resurrection of his 2017 tweets connecting the American flag and police to racism.

September 9, 2019
Jamie Riley

Jamie Riley, University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa's assistant vice president and dean of students, resigned Thursday following a Breitbart article examining his tweets on race.

The article included screenshots of Riley's tweets on racism, the American flag and the police.

Riley had been in the position for just seven months before the article was published.

Other right-wing publications and commentators including Dinesh D'Souza and Laura Ingraham chimed in on Twitter with more outrage, while others supported Riley's tweets and their connections between racism in America.

The university released the following statement via email: "Dr. Jamie Riley has resigned his position at the University of Alabama by mutual agreement. Neither the university or Dr. Riley will have any further comments."

The group Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equality UA (URGE) released a statement following Riley's resignation that read: "URGE UA is deeply saddened to see Dr. Riley leave the university, as he was always extremely supportive of our mission every time he interacted with our organization. His views and experience as a black man working at a predominantly white institution were incredibly valuable to the University of Alabama; we are extremely disappointed that the university led him to feel that resigning was the best decision. The University of Alabama has shown various times that it encourages its students and faculty to exercise their freedom of speech; however, this situation seems to be a contradiction to those occurrences."

One of Riley's tweets from September 26, 2017 that was called into question read as follows:

"The [American flag emoji] flag represents a systemic history of racism for my people. Police are a part of that system. Is it that hard to see the correlation?"

Another tweet, also from 2017, read:

"I'm baffled about how the 1st thing white people say is, 'That's not racist!' when they can't even experience racism? You have 0 opinion!"

The tweet was followed with the hashtag #missmewithyourprivilege. Another tweet on Riley's feelings on movies about slavery was also included in the article.

This 2016 tweet read: "Are movies about slavery truly about educating the unaware, or to remind Black people of our place in society?"

Riley appeared to have deleted his Twitter account around the time of his resignation.

Prior to coming to work at the University of Alabama, Riley was the executive director of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and served in a variety of diversity and inclusion roles under student affairs at Johns Hopkins University, the University of California, Berkeley, Longwood University, the University of Georgia, Morehouse College and Western Kentucky University. 

A North Carolina State vice chancellor for student affairs, Mike Mullen, stepped down in early August after conservative students called him out over past tweets comparing the Republican party to neo-Nazis.

College republicans called for Mullen to resign, while minority students praised him for his advocacy while in the position.

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Elin Johnson

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