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Student radio station threatens to halt programming until university removes manager

Student radio station threatens to halt programming until university removes manager
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The directors of a student-run radio station at Arizona State University said Tuesday they will halt programming until the university removes the station manager after she posted a controversial tweet. 

Blaze Radio’s six directors threatened to resign in a Tuesday Zoom meeting if the university did not remove Rae’Lee Klein as station manager, after she tweeted about Jacob Blake, the Black man shot at least seven times by police in Kenosha, Wis., the Arizona Republic reported

"Our intention is clear: It is either Rae'Lee or us," station music director Vaughan Jones said in the meeting, according to the newspaper.

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Klein has said she does not plan to resign as station manager.

"I am more than willing to do what I can as a one-man band. There are people willing to step up into your positions as there would be for mine," Klein said. 

The threats to stop programming and resign come after the station voted to remove Klein from her position after her Saturday tweet. But the university ultimately provides pay for her position, leaving the final decision with Arizona State University.

"Over the past few days, the ASU student club Blaze Radio has been grappling with a controversy over the posting of a tweet by its newly appointed station manager. The station manager, Rae’Lee Klein, has not been removed from her position. The student board is working its way toward a resolution." Cronkite spokesperson Karen Bordeleau told The Hill in statement.

Blaze Radio has not yet started airing this semester as it is figuring out how to run during the pandemic. The board pledged to delay working on their programming until the situation is resolved. 

Klein’s tweet over the weekend linked to a New York Post article that included graphic details from a police report describing a sexual assault that Blake is accused of committing in May.

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“Always more to the story, folks. Please read this article to get the background of Jacob Blake’s warrant. You’ll be quite disgusted,” she reportedly wrote in the tweet that has since been deleted. 

Blaze Radio and the Walter Cronkite College Council both issued statements denouncing the tweet, with the council labeling it as “factually misleading, discriminatory and racist.”

The station manager later issued an apology on Twitter, saying it was “not my intent to make an excuse for what happened to Jacob Blake.”

“The incident is tragic in every sense of the word. The point of my tweet was to provide an additional perspective,” Klein said.

Protests have erupted in Kenosha over the past week after video footage circulated showing Blake shot at least seven times in the back by police as he opened the door to his SUV, which had his children inside.

Blake was charged on July 6 with felony third-degree sexual assault and misdemeanor trespassing and disorderly conduct after the alleged assault in May, a fact-check analysis from USA Today found. Ahead of the Aug. 23 shooting, the dispatcher told the present officers about the existing warrant.