FOX NEWS: Rittenhouse posts from Virginia university slammed as ‘politicized rhetoric’

James Madison University’s posts briefly included a ‘student takeover’ video that was removed because it was ‘not reflective’ of the school

When a Wisconsin jury acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse of murder charges last week, that development hampered the progress of science, a Virginia university’s chemistry department suggested in a series of online posts that at least one critic is deriding as inappropriate “politicized rhetoric.”

The communications on James Madison University‘s official Instagram account also briefly included a so-called “student takeover” video in which a JMU student lamented the “murdering” of “two beautiful Black lives” – even though the jury agreed that Rittenhouse acted in self-defense and the two men he fatally shot were both White.

“Reminder: it is hard to focus on science if you are worried you might be legally shot or run over at a protest,” the JMU Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry tweeted on Saturday, the day after Rittenhouse’s acquittal. The department continued, referencing various shootings of Black men that the Black Lives Matter movement has turned into rallying cries.

“It is hard to focus on science if you are worried your loved ones might be killed getting Skittles, or selling cigarettes, or playing with a toy gun, or sitting in their apartment, or jogging, or wearing a hoodie,” the department added, obliquely referencing the deaths of Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Ahmaud Arbery and Trayvon Martin.

“It’s hard to focus on science if you’re worried you might get deported or if your human rights depend on the outcome of an election. The fight for justice *is* a fight for science.”

The JMU chemistry department also shared a video from Peacock channel host Amber Ruffin in which the host claimed the Rittenhouse acquittal shows that “the judicial system [is] blatantly and obviously stacked against people of color.”

JMU’s official Instagram account also shared a video featuring student Deaquan Nichols.

In the video, Nichols addresses “The verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse case.”

“We scream ‘Black Lives Matter’ but it doesn’t matter enough for these people who are in power – the jury, the judge, anybody – to charge this man with murdering and taking away two beautiful Black lives,” Nichols says.

‘Political propaganda’

Tina Ramirez, founder of the religious freedom nonprofit Hardwired Global and a Republican candidate for Congress in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, shared the Nichols video on Twitter – and accused the university of “pushing political propaganda.”

The Kenosha, Wisconsin, jury declared Rittenhouse not guilty on five charges relating to his fatal shooting of two White men and wounding of one other White man during the second night of civil unrest in Kenosha on Aug. 25, 2020.

Rittenhouse’s attorneys argued that the then-17-year-old Illinois resident was acting in self-defense after being attacked from behind when he shot Gaige Grosskreutz, 27, as well as Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26 in the riots. Grosskreutz survived but Rosenbaum and Huber died.

The prosecution claimed Rittenhouse provoked the attacks.

The rioting followed the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha earlier in the week. Blake survived the shooting but remains partially paralyzed.

‘Student takeovers’

A JMU spokeswoman addressed the Nichols video, but not the chemistry department posts, in a statement to Fox News.

“James Madison University offers ‘student takeovers’ on social media platforms as an opportunity for our audiences to learn about student activities and research,” spokeswoman Mary-Hope Vass said. “One of yesterday’s takeovers went into the personal opinion and viewpoints of a student, which are not necessarily reflective of the university. The video expressing this opinion was removed from the university’s social media account.”

Ramirez spoke with Fox News about the JMU responses to the Rittenhouse acquittal.

“Presuming the guilt of a young man found innocent by a jury of of his peers is the antithesis of standing for a fair criminal justice system,” Ramirez told Fox News. “That JMU allowed this to take place on their official social media accounts, to say nothing of the blatant misinformation, is egregious.”

“To see that the school’s chemistry department would then double down with more politicized rhetoric is beyond the pale,” she added. “In their posts they say ‘it’s hard to focus on Chemistry,’ but that is literally their job and what parents are paying thousands of dollars in tuition fees expect them to do. This is why I’ve been so adamant that we need to make school about education again. We should be teaching students how to think critically, not what to think politically.”

Republican Glenn Youngkin won the Virginia governor’s race in part by campaigning on education, pushing back against what parents see as the left-wing politicization of the education system and declaring that parents should have the right to decide what schools teach their children.

TOWNHALL: EXCLUSIVE: Candidate Tells GOP Majority in Va. to Repeal Law Allowing Schools to Refrain from Reporting

Congressional candidate for the 7th district of Virginia, Tina Ramirez, is calling on the newly elected, Republican majority House of Delegates in the commonwealth to repeal House Bill 257. As I covered last month, in the few weeks leading up to the Virginia statewide elections, in 2020 the bill had been signed into law by Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat who has not only defended the bill, but shied away from answering questions on it and being held accountable. Under this law, schools are no longer required to report misdemeanors to authorities, which includes sexual battery.

A press release, which was shared exclusively with Townhall, includes a statement from Ramirez.

“As a mother, I am appalled by this horrific bill, which was passed last year by Democrats and Woke ‘Republicans’. I should not be afraid for my daughter’s safety when I send her to school, but this bill makes our children less safe. On election day, suburban parents across the Commonwealth made it known that we want our schools to be places of learning, not institutions subject to the radical agendas of progressive politicians. I am calling on the House of Delegates and our new Governor to prove that they heard the parents that voted for them and to work to repeal this bill,” she said.

Ramirez lives with her young daughter, Abigail, and is running as a Republican to challenge Rep. Abigail Spanberger, a Democrat. As I highlighted in an article last night, Governor-Elect Glenn Youngkin won Spanberger’s district by 11 points.

The law, which was approved by Northam on March 12, 2020 and went into effect on July 1, 2020, has recently come under scrutiny after a boy in a skirt raped a ninth grader in the bathroom within the Loudoun County School District. The 14-year old was found guilty of the rape by a judge last month, as Landon reported. The student is awaiting trial for a separate incident at another school in the district.

Scott Taylor with local news outlet 7 News, claimed in an October 15 article, “Gov. Ralph Northam silent as Virginia law on schools reporting crimes is under scrutiny,” that he attempted to ask the governor a question about HB 257 and if he still thought it was a good idea. Taylor, however, wrote that he was prevented from doing so by a staffer for Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Terry McAuliffe, who had also served as governor from 2014-2018.

Ultimately, Taylor heard back from Alena Yarmosky, the senior communications advisor for the Gov. Northam, whose lengthy response indicated continued support for the law and pushed back against criticisms.In addition to electing a Republican majority House of Delegates, Virginians also voted for Governor-Elect  Youngkin, Lieutenant Governor-Elect Winsome Sears, and Attorney General-Elect Jason Miyares, all Republicans.

TOWN HALL: ‘EXCLUSIVE: Congressional Candidate Launches PAC to Help GOP Win Back Suburbs’

Candidate Tina Ramirez, who is running as a Republican to unseat Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) in the 7th district of Virginia, has her sight set on Congress not just for herself, but for other candidates. She thus recently announced she’s launching the Win Back the Suburbs PAC, which will support Republican candidates running in competitive suburban districts, beginning with 2021 Virginia House of Delegates candidates.

A press release shared exclusively with Townhall noted that “Win Back the Suburbs PAC will work to put a check on Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and the current radical progressive agenda by supporting these conservative candidates in Virginia, one of the only two state legislatures in the nation with elections in 2021.”

As one of those two states, Virginia has been closely watched, especially if the 2021 could further cement the sentiment that the state has gone blue, if the state House of Delegates, Senate, and governor’s mansion remains under Democratic control.

Ramirez has already touted working with the gubernatorial candidate, Glenn Youngkin, and his wife, Suzanne, to elect more Republicans across the commonwealth.

“Everyday, I see the impact of progressive liberal policies, from rising prices at the gas pumps and grocery stores, to the politicization of our schools, and skyrocketing crime rates. We can address, but it will take supporting great candidates with innovative solutions to do this. I’m thrilled to support these Delegate candidates, so that together we can win back the suburbs,” Ramirez said in a statement.

Ramirez is herself running in a suburban district, which includes many central Virginia counties. Rep. Spanberger first won what was for decades a reliably Republican seat in 2018 as part of that year’s congressional blue wave. She defeated Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA) with 50.3 percent to his 48.4 percent, and in 2020 defeated Nick Freitas with 50.8 percent to Freitas’ 49.0 percent.

The congresswoman has been criticized for being the top earner of donations from teacher’s unions and for her failure to speak up against President Joe Biden’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan.