Using the Black Lives Matter hashtag, an Ohio State University employee wrote a Facebook post urging compassion for the man who attacked and injured 11 students earlier this week, one critically.
Since then, a petition to fire Stephanie Clemons Thompson, the OSU assistant director of residence life, has gained more than 1,250 signatures.
The controversy began earlier this week, when Thompson posted on her personal Facebook: “Abdul Razak Ali Artan was a BUCKEYE, a member of our family. If you think it is okay to celebrate his death and/or share a photo of his dead body and I see it in my timeline I will unfriend you. I pray you find compassion for his life, as troubled as it clearly was. Think of the pain he must have been in to feel that his actions were the only solution. We must come together in this time of tragedy.”
Thompson hashtagged the post #BlackLivesMatter, also using #SayHisName, which the group uses to commemorate people of color killed by police. She asked her Facebook friends not to share the post, but it quickly spread anyway.
Thompson could not be immediately reached for comment. Inside HigherEd reports that she has since removed the post and gone silent on social media.
Thompson’s post has enraged many in the OSU community, including some who want her to lose her job.
“Stephanie Clemons Thompson used Facebook as a public platform to shame those who were grateful and relieved the terrorist was taken out so quickly, preventing even more unthinkable terror and destruction in his wake,” the petition says. “Because this man was taken out so quickly his goal of murder was foiled and his victims will live on.”
The petition also takes issue with Thompson’s use of the Black Lives Matter hashtags, saying that “only further promotes the violent and racially divided rhetoric being flooded by our media.”
Benjamin Johnson, an OSU spokesman, declined to comment on whether Thompson would be disciplined or fired.
“This post from this individual clearly is not an official statement of the university and represents her own personal viewpoint,” Johnson told Heat Street.
— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.