RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — VCU president Michael Rao has condemned recent controversial social media posts written by the university’s then-student body president, Taylor Maloney.
On Tuesday, the Student Government Association that Maloney recently led, stated they will “fully support” Maloney. However, not all of VCU’s undergraduate student senators voted to release the statement backing their former president.
Maloney identifies as transgender, non-binary and uses they/them pronouns.
According to the university, Maloney’s term as SGA president expired on May 3. As SGA president, they managed the SGA’s affairs and “maintained a constituency of over 30,000 students while distributing funds to over 500 student organizations on campus,” according to Maloney’s LinkedIn profile.
In April, tweets from a now-suspended anonymous Twitter account were brought to light. According to the Post Millennial, a conservative Canadian news magazine, at least one tweet appears to advocate for killing police officers. “Ur reminder to advocate for the k*lling of k*ps,” the tweet stated, according to the Post Millennial, who attributed the tweets to Maloney.
Other tweets expressed hatred toward white people and encouraged rioting. “I hate white people so much it’s not even funny,” another tweet screenshotted by the Post Millennial states.
8News reached out to Maloney for comment but as of Tuesday afternoon, had not heard back. However, in statements to other outlets since, they do not deny writing the tweets.
VCU’s leadership got wind of the Post Millennial article.
In an April 30th statement posted just days before Maloney’s term as student body president ended,
VCU president Michael Rao and other faculty did not refer to Maloney by name, but called out the statements made online. “The university unequivocally condemns the calls for violence and the hateful language,” the statement read. “The abhorrent posts do not reflect who we are at VCU.”
The faculty members added “we encourage members of our community — especially those in leadership roles — to model our commitment to civility, professionalism and respect.”
Now about two weeks since VCU’s statement, the SGA released a statement in response. “We will continue to support President Taylor Maloney. This statement passed by the Senate of the Undergraduate Parliament by a margin of 13-10,” the post on Facebook first reads.
The statement is addressed to students and administration of VCU. The authors call the Post Millennial’s article “harmful.”
“Taylor is the first openly transgender and non-binary student to become Student Body President at a public institution,” the statement reads. “It is obvious that Taylor has been targeted due to their gender identity. We support the first amendment and recognize the right to free speech. All tweets by the President were through their social media that is used as a safe space. Safe spaces are not often given to Black individuals, especially those that are transgender and non-binary,” the statement continued.
The SGA wrote that Maloney’s twitter “should not be policed.” It also states that Maloney has been “doxxed and consistently misgendered by right-wing extremists” who’ve blogged about the tweets since.
The organization stated VCU failed to support Maloney, who they said is fearing for their protection.
“To not agree with Taylor’s policies is one thing, but to allow a student to be threatened by right wing extremists and not extend an ounce of sympathy or support as a university that was literally built on black bodies is vile,” the SGA wrote. You can read the full statement here.
Maloney entered the race for Richmond’s 5th district city council seat in November 2020. According to their campaign website, they primarily ran with intent to “defund the Richmond Police Department” and instead “fund black lives and black futures.”
“That means taking money that is currently spent on police overtime, tear gas and other weapons of war, etc. and reinvesting it in housing, food, education, mental health services and the other fundamental building blocks of peace, prosperity, freedom, and democracy,” Maloney’s website states.
Councilwoman Stephanie Lynch ultimately won the race for that seat.
Maloney was arrested for trespassing during a demonstration in late July. Online court records show their case has since been dropped by prosecutors.