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Courtesy Facebook

A member of Emporia State University’s Associated Student Government has gained national notoriety after language in a recent, politically-charged Facebook status nearly resulted in her impeachment.

In the post, ASG Vice President Michaela Todd — a senior political science and communications major — voiced her support for Republican gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach. In listing reasons for her support for Kobach, Todd wrote that he would, “Put Kansans first, not illegal aliens. The millions of dollars spent on public welfare for illegal aliens in Kansas hurts Kansas taxpayers every single day.”

Todd’s words received a mixed reaction online and on campus, with many standing in agreement and others expressing criticism, some of the detractors taking issue with the use of the term “illegal alien.” The post was eventually deleted but was still an issue of discussion among ASG members. During a Nov. 8 ASG meeting, Todd was asked to resign from her position, but backed her statements and cited her duty and “oath to represent the students of Emporia State University” in a firm refusal.

On Nov. 12, members of the student government’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee put forth a formal statement demanding Todd’s resignation, stating they would move forth with the impeachment process if she failed to do so. Among other issues with Todd’s post, the statement cited its choice of rhetoric:

“This rhetoric of ‘illegal alien’ dehumanizes an entire population,” the statement reads. “Emporia State has a large Latino population along with the city of Emporia. Other phrases such as ‘undocumented’ would have gotten the point across. Additionally, the idea of “undocumented peoples” not being “Kansan” dehumanizes people of Kansas as well.”

After the story caught national ears, Todd was invited to appear Thursday on the Fox & Friends morning news show. During a nearly three-minute interview, Todd said she had been receiving increased support from other students on campus and was pleased with the way university faculty had been handling the situation.

“I have also had a lot of students come out and support me in this when people were attacking me,” Todd said on Fox & Friends. “These students are a lot like me. They are conservative students and they haven’t felt like they’ve been able to voice what they believe in at Emporia State. So I feel like backing down would be doing them a disservice because they’re able to use this as a platform to voice their beliefs also.

“The administration at Emporia State is taking a very hands-off approach to this. They believe this is a student issue and it is.”

When asked why she used the words “illegal alien” in her post, Todd said she wasn’t aware people would be offended by the term.

“I used the term ‘illegal alien’ because that is what [Kobach] used in his platform, and it also is a legal term,” Todd said. “It is a legal term that’s used in the federal government, it’s used here in Kansas, and it’s also used in universities around the country, including Emporia State.”

Thursday evening, Todd faced formal impeachment proceedings brought forth by members of the student senate. She was not present for the vote. The motion needed a two-thirds majority to move forward to the next stage, but failed, with 11 in favor, seven against and three abstentions according to Reporter Sarah Spoon of the Emporia State Bulletin.

An informal meeting between ASG senators and students that was set to take place in the Memorial Union Ballroom was also canceled Thursday evening. An email from the ASG president’s office to the student body cited safety concerns as the reason for the cancellation. Despite the warnings, more than 70 students stayed to voice their concerns.

Several ESU administrators were in attendance, including Jim Williams, vice president of student affairs, Gwen Larson, assistant director of media relations, and Deanna Williams, director of diversity programs. The roughly 30-minute meeting proceeded without incident.

The Gazette has reached out for comment and will continue to provide updates on the situation as more information becomes available. The next formal meeting of the Emporia State University Student Senate is set to take place at 5:15 p.m. Nov. 29.

(24) comments

esustudent

Thank you, Sail! "The more grateful I am, the More Beauty I See Around Me." Happy Thanksgiving!!!

esustudent

We must keep in mind that Michaela's ASG election platform was based on a message of inclusion and unity (http://www.esubulletin.com/full_issue/full-issue-for-march/article_a0c2ffce-1d99-11e8-a0ef-e335a5f087ca.html). Bringing together all of our RSOs, transfer students, non-traditional students, single parents, veterans, etc. As a private citizen, she is not obligated to support illegal aliens, but as ASG VP she is obligated to protect and promote the interests and welfare of all students. Those who pushed for impeachment exercised their right to voice their opinion. Similarly, the ASG decision not to proceed with the impeachment process, for fear of litigation or not, was the right/fair/legal decision. Democracy, not fascism, prevailed at ESU!

sail

ok,ESU student please let me know the next word that is now culpable of me being removed from being classified as a decent resident of Lyon co..........i never get to see those prohibited word memos till its too late,,,,,,,,,,,oh and I would like to be on the committee who gets to tell ALL of you whats offencive,,but I am having a dickens of a time finding out who "THEY" THE COMMITTEE are, that tell me I am insulting an individual who BREAKS OUR LAWS by calling them an ILLEGAL ALIEN !

esustudent

Thank you for your reply. We all have the right to question and define those terms/words that are or could be offensive, and to express any grievances resulting from using labels some people find offensive; that's what democracy is all about. Is the term illegal alien offensive or insulting, maybe, maybe not; this is a very subjective issue. Being subjective, democracy gives to those who feel insulted the right to express their grievances and concerns. Conflict of ideas, open and honest debate enrich education and society; silence and fear breed totalitarianism and fascism. (On a personal note: I spent many years of my life under a totalitarian, undemocratic regime in which the government's main weapon was the unchallenged use and imposition of labels/words/language.)

sail

ESU STUDENT,have a safe and happy Thanksgiving break............

sail

Im referring to ESU admin doing the correct actions

sail

Great comments by all that need to be aired,,,,,IF THEY ARE BREAKING OUR LAWS ,what do we call them? And who gets to decide the language we use?If they are not breaking our laws,then why do we need to continue our boarders?.............in my opinion ESU has reacted correctly to this blowup between liberal demos and conserv STUDENTS,,,its a student issue to hash out...

Hananova

ESU becomes more fascist every day. And the media is their partner is suppression of civil rights, targeting whites, males, heteros, Christians, the prosperous, and morality and ethics in general.

Party on, human animals! The West is coasting on the heritage and vestiges of traditional and institutional morality. When that has been eradicated by the Left (and pillars like the Bioy Scouts and Catholic Chruch are crumbling as I write) Snowflakes and Snowflakettes will all find yourselves in a jungle, 100% devoid of any and all civil rights, where the only rule is survival of the "fittest" - in this case, the richest or the most well-armed. The only thing to keep this dystopian Snowlfake state "working" will be the well-armed and 1984-type parallel police state.

I guess the intelligentsia have not noticed the rise of the well-armed police state, have they?

Hananova

Well, a couple of years ago, racists got away with a pic of a "racist" grafitto and forced the cowardly ESU administration to pony up $millions in new diversity programs, with the help of the 100% one-sdied media. Now they are piling on.

show me

I support you 100%, Michaela. Illegal aliens and their sympathizers are bothered when they're called out. They think they're entitled to everything just because they are here and can just skate along ignoring our citizenship and visitor laws for as long as they want. Being here without US citizenship, or the proper authorization that is in compliance with the laws of the US, is being here ILLEGALLY, no matter the length of time here. When they're here illegally, they are not citizens of Kansas or any other state just because they hang around here. Totally ridiculous for those who are wanting to somehow become such victims from your initial post. It only demonstrates their very low maturity level and their determination to continue to violate our laws and support those who do.

esustudent

This is not about legal or illegal aliens alleged demands or entitlements or sense of victimization. Michaela's posting has put her in a very difficult position to serve the entire student body effectively. When interacting and serving international or minorities, will she ask the student about his/her legal/illegal status before helping or serving them? Will she feel compelled to report "illegal" students if she learns about the student's illegal status when acting as ASG VP? If she is firm about her political position and convictions, she should not apologize or step down. If she believes that this incident has compromised her capacity to effectively function as VP, she should step down.

Hananova

ESUSTUDENT - the only way this "incident" has compromised her ability to function as VP is when the biased media and campus bigots MAKE it an incident. Everyone has their civil rights in the US - except, it seems, when they go on a university campus, where the Left indoctrinates the young and mandates what is right and what is wrong, and what is wrong is expressing opinions the Leftist hate-mongers and bigots disagree with.

esustudent

Michaela has the right to express her support for Kobach and for his political principles (e.g., pro-life, gov budget-cuts, more funding for classroom education, right to bear arms, welfare restrictions, etc.). As an elected official (ASG Vice-president) she erred in targeting a specific class of people for party politics purposes. The so called "illegal aliens" could be an ESU student or the son or the daughter of an ESU student whose parents came to the USA from Europe, Asia, Middle East, the Americas, or the Caribbean, and whose parents entered the USA "legally" but decided to stay in the USA; a country that they now love and want to call home. As ASG VP, Michaela was elected to represent all students regardless of their citizenship status. Should she be impeached, no. Should she step down, yes! Her Facebook posting made it clear that her priority is representing "Americans" and "Kansans." As such, she has given the perception that she has compromised her credibility and capacity to serve as ASG Vice-President. Perception=Reality!

Hananova

Perception (CNN, other media bigots) Does NOT = reality.

My perception of you is that you are a bigot. Therefore you are in reality a bigot.


Do you know what a dictionary is? Or do you just a have a perception of it?

Bill free

Our county continues to circle the bowl. Do they not teach the constitution in school anymore.
What she said was protected free speech by the first amendment.

Gryph

Bill, the 1st Amendment only covers a person when they are going up against the government. It doesn't cover a person who's catching flack from other school mates. When you use out dated terms, you should expect to get push back.

Bill free

You really need to get an education.
GO read the 1st amendment and while your at it just read tthe whole constitution and Bill of rights.

sarelon

Sorry Bill but Gryph is correct. The 1st Amendment of the Constitution protects the freedom of speech against the government. I do agree this country is swirling in the bowl but for totally different reasons.

sarelon

She should be impeached for no other reason than for being delusional enough to parrot party propaganda. It's pretty bad when the Koch Foundation called the "report" KKKobach cited for his "million of dollars in welfare for illegals" was grossly over-stated and not based in fact.

Freedom of speech grants you the right not to be censored by the government. It does not give you free reign to say anything you want with no consequences.

jeronimo

Sarelon ---you are the voice of intolerance---you simply show society why we are unable to get on board with the liberal agenda of not allowing any voice to be heard other than the democratic message of hate speech and intolerance ---you scare me and i hope you never get elected dictator --

sarelon

jeronimo - I am the voice of intolerance...because I spoke out against someone who was being intolerant? I am the voice of intolerance because I called out a person in an elected position for being exclusive? As esustudent pointed out, she declared that "her priority is representing "Americans" and "Kansans.", not ESU students. Perhaps you are unaware that a good portion of students at ESU are not Americans? It's okay if as the VP of the ASG she fails to support those students?

Comment deleted.
sarelon

Hananova - Again, I call out someone for hating on a group of people and somehow that makes what I say "hate speech"? Thank goodness KKKobach is on his way onto the unemployment line. You don't have to wear a white sheet and burn crosses to be a racist...though it does make it easier to spot you from a distance. I believe fully in the rights of people to speak their minds....I also reserve the right and believe it my civic duty to call attention to a racist when they open their mouth.

sail

Diversity committee,,,,,what an oxymoron at ESU,,,you can say what you want as long as I agree,,,,,Miss Todd im proud of your strength standing up to your demo anti free speech contemporaries...should be interesting to see how the demos can defend there blackshirt attempt to foil the rights of Miss Todd to dare to have an opinion different than the demo party.

Hananova

The more diversity there is, the more intolerance there is. And the more tolerance (of criminal and anti-social behavior) the more diversity (welcoming more criminals).

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