A student journalist has been removed from her role at a college radio station after tweeting a link detailing the sexual assault allegations against Jacob Blake, the black man who was shot and paralyzed by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Rae’Lee Klein, 21, had been the student station manager at Arizona State University’s Blaze Radio broadcast station before her August 29 tweet provoked campus outrage.
In a statement to DailyMail.com, Kristin Gilger, interim dean of ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, denied that Klein had been ‘fired’ as station manager, adding that it was ‘an ongoing situation’ and that she remains a ‘student employee.’
Nonetheless, leaked emails from Gilger to Klein from earlier this week purport to show the dean telling Klein that ‘staying on as station manager is not an option.’
Rae’Lee Klein, 21, was removed from her role as station manager this week following uproar over a tweet. In a carefully worded statement, Kristin Gilger (right), interim dean of ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, denied that Klein had been ‘fired’ as station manager
Klein’s August 29 tweet linking to a report about sexual assault allegations against Jacob Blake provoked fury. Blake, a black man, had been shot and paralyzed by cops in Wisconsin
In Klein’s controversial tweet, she included a link to a New York Post report describing the reason for the 911 call that led Kenosha cops to the encounter with Blake.
Blake had an open warrant for felony sexual assault, and the alleged victim in the case had called 911 saying that he was violating a restraining order and had stolen her car keys.
Klein commented in the tweet, which she has since deleted: ‘Always more to the story, folks. Please read this article to get the background of Jacob Blake’s warrant. You’ll be quite disgusted.’
In the midst of protests over Blake’s shooting, the tweet provoked fury. A student petition calling for her removal as station manager read in part: ‘After recent tweets regarding Jacob Blake, Rae Lee Klein has proven that her facts are biased and not welcomed by all.’
The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, in Phoenix is seen above in a file photo
The Blaze Radio’s six-member board voted to remove her as station manager, but because the board did not have the power to appoint or remove her, Klein refused to step down, insisting that she had done nothing wrong.
On Tuesday, Klein received an email from Kristin Gilger, interim dean of ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. The email was published by Campus Reform.
‘Staying on as station manager is not an option,’ Gilger wrote, adding that Klein could be reassigned to another student worker position, take a board position in which she’d be required to work on diversity issues, or start her own station.
Gilger told DailyMail.com: ‘Contrary to what she has said or has been reported, student Rae’Lee Klein has not been fired or dismissed from the position of station manager.’
‘She remains a student employee of Arizona State University and from our perspective, this is an ongoing situation,’ Gilger added. ‘Any actions that are unfolding are not punishment for a tweet.’
Klein denied that she did anything wrong, and said that professors had advised her to tweet links to news articles with new or surprising information
In an interview with the New York Post, Klein maintained that she had done nothing wrong, and was expressing her shock at the allegations against Blake, which included a sexual assault in front of a child.
‘I was reading through it and I just thought it was super interesting and enlightening and a part of the story we haven’t been told yet,’ Klein, a Cheyenne, Wyoming native.
She explained that professors at the Cronkite School had advised her to tweet two to three times a day, and to send links to stories she found interesting.
‘I was just trying to do A, what I was assigned to do and B, what I thought was my job as a journalist, which is to share an important part of the story,’ said Klein.
She explained that she aspired to a career in journalist because she believed the job was to ‘deliver the full truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.’
‘And whether people agree or like the truth is irrelevant because it doesn’t make it any less truthful and any less necessary to tell,’ she added.
A spokesperson for ASU did not immediately respond to an inquiry from DailyMail.com on Friday, requesting comment from the school and Dean Gilger.
Full statement from Kristin Gilger, Interim Dean, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication
‘Contrary to what she has said or has been reported, student Rae’Lee Klein has not been fired or dismissed from the position of station manager. Any actions that are unfolding are not punishment for a tweet.
‘I have been clear with Rae’Lee that she would not be removed as station manager of Blaze Radio, a student internet radio station, because of the views she expressed. She remains a student employee of Arizona State University and from our perspective, this is an ongoing situation.
‘We have presented Rae’Lee with numerous ways to resolve the situation that take into account the needs of all students involved in the Blaze Radio organization.’