University Of Alabama Dean Resigns After Getting Busted By MAGA For Tweets About U.S. Flag And Police

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Written by Dana Sanchez

Dr. Jamie R. Riley, the assistant vice president and dean of students at the University of Alabama, resigned a day after far-right media company Breitbart News published an article showing images of past tweets from Riley that made a connection between police and racism and criticized the U.S. flag.

University officials confirmed Riley’s resignation according to the school newspaper, The Crimson White, which broke the story.

University of Alabama
Jamie R. Riley, the University of Alabama’s assistant vice president and dean of students, resigned a day after a conservative newspaper published an article showing past tweets from Riley critical of the U.S. flag, police and racism. Photo: dos.sa.ua.edu

The tweets Breitbart seized upon were published in 2016 and 2017, but the one that seemed to bother Breitbart most was the one that said, “The (U.S.) 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?”

Breitbart and President Donald Trump will forever be connected in people’s minds. Former Breitbart executive chairman Steve Bannon became the CEO of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and was later named White House chief strategist. The Trump-Bannon relationship went sour but no one will forget the MAGA connection.

“Breitbart News has a reputation for racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, transphobic and other derogatory headlines and content,” The Crimson White reported. The Breitbart author reached out to the university last week for a comment on Riley’s past tweets but did not get one.

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Breitbart, which in the past has voiced proud support of the Confederate flag, apparently felt the dean had crossed the line, Molly Olmstead reported for Slate. Breitbart has called Trump critics “renegade Jews,” described young Muslims as “ticking time bombs,” and hosted a section dedicated to “black crime”, Olmstead wrote.

Riley was hired as dean after an extensive national search and started on Feb. 25, 2019. He worked previously as executive director and chief operating officer of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. The first African-American, intercollegiate Greek-lettered fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha was founded in 1906. Riley also worked in student affairs and diversity-and-inclusion roles at Johns Hopkins University, The University of California-Berkeley and Morehouse College, according to The Crimson White.

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“Dr. Jamie Riley has resigned his position at The University of Alabama by mutual agreement,” said Steven Hood, associate vice president of student life, in an email to the school newspaper. “Neither the university or Dr. Riley will have any further comments.”

Riley’s Twitter account appeared to be unavailable Friday. However, The Crimson White confirmed that tweets from the deleted account had been recovered and that Riley did send the tweets mentioned in the Breitbart article.

“The University of Alabama has a long history of floundering in its response to race-related controversies,” according to Slate. For example, until 2013, the university’s sororities were still informally but intentionally segregated. After days of student protests, university administrators began formally integrating sororities, inviting an external review for inclusion and diversity, and adding a high-ranking administrative position to handle those issues.

In 2018, a student at the University of Alabama was expelled for posting videos to Instagram with racial slurs.