A Kansas man who once threatened to storm a local courthouse and shoot officers is again the subject of controversy after wearing a “white lives matter” COVID-19 mask when he was sworn in as a student senator at Wichita State University.
Sam McCrory, 27, donned the mask Thursday, the day after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of the murder of George Floyd, The Wichita Eagle reported. The mask apparently went unnoticed by the Student Government Association until the university’s student newspaper, The Sunflower, posted photographs of the ceremony on social media.
McCrory, an electrical engineering major, said he wore the mask to make a political point and to push back against “the modern left,” which he asserted “hates white people.”
Hannah Newby, a 23-year-old elementary education major, called the mask “disgusting.” Others turned to social media calling for the university to remove the newly elected senator and make a statement condemning him.
Wichita State officials didn’t return calls and emails from the paper seeking comment Friday.
The university also found itself at the center of controversy after protests against racism and police brutality erupted following Floyd’s death. The school canceled a virtual commencement speech by President Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, after students and faculty protested her appearance, arguing that the president had mishandled the Floyd demonstrations and faulting her for standing by him. The cancellation outraged some donors, and Jay Golden ended up resigning as the university’s president.
McCrory, who ran for the student senate this spring as a write-in candidate to represent the university’s large returning-adult population, said he didn’t think his mask was racist.
“People can wear Black Lives Matter masks and nobody cares. But if someone wears a white lives matter mask, all of a sudden there’s a huge firestorm,” he said.
McCrory first gained attention in 2015 when he was arrested and pleaded guilty to felony criminal threat for posting on Facebook plans to gather a group with guns and storm the Sedgwick County Courthouse to disrupt a murder trial. He was also convicted of criminal possession of a firearm for showing up to protests with guns, despite his criminal record.
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