USC’s undergraduate student government vice president announced her resignation Wednesday, asserting she had been the target of anti-semitic public attacks through social media due to her identity as a Zionist.
In an email sent to the campus community and obtained by USC’s student-run newsroom, Rose Ritch said resigning was “the only sustainable choice I can make to protect my physical safety on campus and my mental health.”
Ritch said she has “been harassed and pressured for weeks by my fellow students because they opposed one of my identities. It is not because I am a woman, nor because I identify as queer, femme, or cisgender. All of these identities qualified me as electable when the study body voted last February.
“But because I openly identify as a Zionist, a supporter of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, I have been accused by a group of students of being unsuitable as a student leader. I have been told that my support for Israel has made me complicit to racism, and that, by association, I am racist. This is anti-semitism and cannot be tolerated at a university that proclaims to `nurture an environment of mutual respect and tolerance,”’ she wrote.
A USC spokesperson had no immediate comment.
Truman Fritz, former president of USC’s undergraduate student government, resigned July 7 following student outrage over posts on the Instagram account @black_at_usc claiming that he had engaged in acts of racial misconduct and other behavior.
Fritz wrote in a letter to the student body last month that his and Ritch’s “vision of strength in unity came about from our desire to build bridges, but as I look to the year ahead, I no longer believe this vision is possible with me at the helm. As the leader of USG, I recognize that accountability is exercised as decisive and tangible action meant to bring diverse voices into positions of power. As your President, I recognize that I have lost the trust of those I represent.”
Both of their resignations came after the circulation of petitions calling for their impeachment, spearheaded by USC senior Abeer Tijani. USC Annenberg Media reported last month that Tijani alleged in an email that Rose was a “self-proclaimed supporter of the anti-racist movement” and “failed to respond publicly to her constituents about Truman’s behavior.”
“Her silence aids and abets to the already taxing oppression and microaggressions that Black students face at USC face daily, and her vocal support was missing during such a sensitive and alienating time for us,” Tijani wrote.
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