Katharine DeRosa, News Editor
Student Government Association President Taylor Maloney received backlash on Twitter after an article published in The Post Millennial, a conservative Canadian media outlet, outlined some of Maloney’s past tweets on police and protests.
The April 27 article in The Post Millennial, written by Andy Ngo and Mia Cathell, referred to previous tweets by Maloney as “violent extremist” and “racist.”
Maloney was elected as president of VCU’s Student Government Association last spring. They also serve on the Virginia Student Power Association. Maloney previously advocated for police abolition on campus and in Richmond and is the first openly transgender and nonbinary student government president at a public university, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia.
In a written statement to The Commonwealth Times, Maloney stated the Twitter account in question was never linked to their role as SGA president. They also accused various news outlets of purposefully misgendering them. The Post Millennial refers to Maloney as “she” instead of “they” on multiple occasions.
“It’s sick to imply that anything I say on my personal account would actually provoke violence,” Maloney stated.
The tweets The Post Millennial referred to included “ur reminder to advocate for the k*lling of k*ps,” and “i hate white people so much it’s not even funny.”
“Police choose to be police, I do not choose to be black,” Maloney stated. “This false equivalency of oppression against police is not only elementary, but dangerous.”
Ngo is the editor of The Post Millennial and has written for The Washington Times and the New York Post. All three are widely regarded as right-wing outlets. He recently published a book called “Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy.”
In the article, Ngo and Cathell referred to Maloney as a “far-left extremist” and a “communist activist.”
“We recognize that VCU also has a history of silencing and condemning student organizers and activists,” Student Power at VCU stated.
“A 20 y/o VCU student took to Twitter to advocate violence against cops in response to police killings of Black Americans,” Rodriguez Espinoza stated. “On Tuesday, a far-right writer and activist … doxed them, resulting in hundreds of insults and threats.”
Ngo replied to the tweet, calling Rodriguez Espinoza “unethical” and a “liar.”
Various Twitter accounts have reacted to both Ngo and Rodriguez Espinoza’s articles. One account, titled AntifaWatch, referred to Maloney as a “vile extremist.” Another account tweeted Maloney “[needs] to be harassed.”
VCU officials released a statement about Maloney’s tweets on Friday. VCU president Michael Rao, the rector and vice rector of the university condemned calls for violence and “hateful” speech.
“These abhorrent posts do not reflect who we are at VCU,” Rao stated.
The newly established branch of United Campus Workers of Virginia at VCU released a statement criticizing Rao’s condemnation of Maloney’s tweets. They called for Rao to rescind the statement.
“President Rao’s words tacitly affirmed the ongoing attacks targeting Maloney online, which have been led by right-wing media outlets and escalated by white supremacists,” UCWV stated. “Endangering a student leader in this manner is inexcusable in university governance.”
Student Power at VCU posted a statement to Instagram in support of Maloney’s tweets. The group spoke against VCU for “perpetuating white supremacy” while touting the slogan of “diversity, equity and inclusion.”
“We support and stand in solidarity with T [Maloney] and call for other VCU and Community Organizations to do the same,” the post stated.
Maloney was arrested for trespassing near Monroe Park on July 26. The Richmond Police Department stated those arrested for trespassing were in the park after 10 p.m., when city parks are “off-limits.”
“We recognize that VCU also has a history of silencing and condemning student organizers and activists,” Student Power stated.
College Republicans of VCU created a Twitter account and posted a statement regarding Maloney’s tweets to the organization’s social media platforms, including Instagram.
The group acknowledged Maloney’s right to free speech but called Maloney’s views “deplorable” and for Maloney’s removal from office. The student organization spoke against Maloney’s tweets stating they were violent and racist.
“It is a shame that VCU, a school that prides itself on being an institution that promotes equality, inclusion, and diversity would allow an individual who makes such derogatory statements to hold any sort of position of leadership at this school,” College Republicans stated in the release.
College Republicans defended police officers for “risking their lives everyday.”
“We understand that some members of law enforcement are bad, but that does not mean all police officers should be hunted,” College Republicans of VCU stated in the release.
The organization stated that Maloney’s tweet about hating white people alienated the majority of the VCU student population.
“The College Republicans of VCU have and always will condemn any forms of racist rhetoric,” the group stated in the release.
Some written statements were edited for clarity.