Students and groups at Arizona State University are planning a rally and demanding that Rittenhouse be expelled. With leaders like Biden calling Rittenhouse a “white supremacist” before any investigation was completed and legal analysts calling the entire trial “white supremacy on steroids,” there is a sense of false legitimacy in demanding such extrajudicial punishments.
Students groups like MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán), Students for Socialism, Students for Justice in Palestine and the Multicultural Solidarity Coalition are organizing a rally this week to “get murderer Kyle Rittenhouse off [the] campus.” He is not on campus since he is enrolled as an online student. However, Rittenhouse has expressed interest in in-person attendance at ASU. Students and faculty are being called to the rally to “protect students from a violent, blood-thirsty murderer.”
The campaign reflects a growing sense that the legal system is only worthy of respect (or even protection) if it rules in the way that Democrats demand. It is the same mentality that has led members of Congress, law professors, and others to demand the expansion or restriction of the Supreme Court because it now has a conservative majority. Liberal justices like the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Stephen Breyer has opposed such efforts as inimical to the rule of law.
The fact is that Rittenhouse cannot be expelled or kept off campus due to such mob measures. He would quickly prevail in court. Rittenhouse has every right to attend ASU in person and has every right to expect that he can do so safely. If ASU cannot muster the integrity and courage to reaffirm those rights publicly, it has abandoned a core defining element for higher education. Colleges often sit in cringing silence as individual students are targeted and harassed. Students have every right to protest, but ASU must be clear and public in supporting Rittenhouse’s right to access to an education on its campuses.