SGA releases statement, students react to university withholding information on former police officer who killed Black man

Kennesaw State’s Student Government Association and other KSU students reacted to the university’s refusal to disclose information on a KSU student who killed a Black man this summer.

SGA released a statement Friday, Oct. 2, on their Instagram page condemning Garrett Rolfe, an Atlanta Police Department officer who killed 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks, a Black man.

“There is no room for actions like the ones of Garrett Rolfe at a university that has stated its dedication to anti-racism and inclusivity,” part of the statement reads. ” … we nevertheless call on KSU to join SGA in condemning white supremacy and to begin the process of instituting policies that seek to redress and prevent instances of discrimination against minority students, faculty and staff on campus.”

SGA President Tariq Bradford, Vice President Jessica Watkins and Director of Diversity and Inclusion Dasia Jones were among the eight SGA members who signed the statement.

The statement acknowledged KSU citing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act as the reason to not release information on Rolfe. Despite that, SGA said that they are not limited to making a statement on Rolfe.

A KSU student group, KSUnited, created a now-viral post on Instagram and Twitter about the university deciding not to comment on Rolfe’s enrollment status.

“When Kamiyah Street, a Black woman, was arrested for murder in 2019, KSU released a statement within hours of her arrest, before charges were even announced,” KSUnited’s Twitter thread said. ” … After weeks of protests and state violence, the student body had the RIGHT to know about Rolfe’s enrollment at KSU. There was a murderer on our campus and most of our community isn’t even aware. His very presence was and is a threat to Black students, faculty, and staff.”

Hundreds liked and retweeted the Twitter post.

On KSUnited’s corresponding Instagram post, many people tagged KSU in the comments, criticizing the university for staying silent on Rolfe.

Rolfe killed Brooks Friday, June 12, in Atlanta, amid ongoing anti-police brutality protests in and around the city.

Rolfe killed Brooks, a father of four young children, after attempting to arrest him for a DUI at a Wendy’s on University Avenue, shown in a viral 41-minute video.

After killing Brooks, Rolfe allegedly kicked Brooks’ dead body and said, “I got him,” according to Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard.

Rolfe and his APD colleague Officer Devin Brosnan were eventually charged, with Rolfe facing 11 charges, including felony murder and aggravated assault.

Rolfe had a bond hearing Tuesday, June 30, were his lawyers revealed Rolfe was a KSU student, majoring in criminal justice and psychology, according to a court transcript.

Since killing Brooks, Rolfe has withdrawn from all his classes, his lawyers said.

A student can still be enrolled at KSU despite withdrawing from all classes.

KSU would not provide the Sentinel with any information on Rolfe after asking the Office of the Registrar twice.

“Due to FERPA, the University is unable to comment,” KSU Assistant Vice President of Strategic Communication Tammy Demel said last week.

The university refuses to release Rolfe’s enrollment status and answer any other questions the Sentinel asked about him.

Although KSU says FERPA prevents them from commenting, KSU’s FERPA website says that directory information, such as a student’s name, major, advisor, dates of attendance, degrees awarded, awards and honors, participation in officially recognized activities or sports and weight and height of athletic participants can all be released without a student’s written consent.

A student can opt-out of directory information being shared without consent by filling out a form. It is unclear if Rolfe opted-out.

When a Black starter for KSU’s women’s basketball team, Kamiyah Street, was arrested for the alleged killing of 21-year-old Nashiem Hubbard-Etienne in November 2019, KSU released a public statement to the press.

Rolfe’s killing of Brooks sparked further protests in Atlanta from both residents and police.

Outraged residents protested, burning down the Wendy’s Rolfe killed Brooks at the day after the killing. Protestors also blocked traffic and continued to demonstrate weeks after Brooks’ killing.

In the days after Rolfe and Brosnan were charged, about 170 APD officers called out sick to protest their colleagues being charged.

Former APD Chief Erika Shields also resigned from her position hours after the killing, unexpectedly.

On Sunday, May 31, KSU President Dr. Pamela Whitten released a statement during national protests over the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota.

” … there is no room for the existence of or tolerance for any form of racism,” Whitten wrote. “Let us move forward together with a sincere commitment to a constructive dialogue where we listen respectfully with a goal toward real change.”

KSU still has not said anything about Rolfe, despite student concern.

This is a developing story.

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