Former Undergraduate Student Government (USG) vice president Rose Ritch resigned in an email to students Wednesday afternoon. Her departure closely follows that of running mate Truman Fritz, after accusations of his racial insensitivity circulated in an online petition.
Fritz’s resignation put Ritch next in line for the presidency, to be inaugurated at the start of the fall semester.
Several weeks ago, vice president of student affairs Winston Crisp announced that he would be postponing Ritch’s July 14 impeachment proceedings in order to review the “fairness of bylaws and other rules.”
In her resignation letter, Ritch cited the continuous anti-Semitism and contention towards her Zionist beliefs from students on social media that have plagued her throughout her short time as vice president.
Merriam-Webster defines Zionism as “an international movement originally for the establishment of a Jewish national or religious community in Palestine and later for the support of modern Israel.” It is a definition that has been hotly debated for decades.
Speaking about her experiences dealing with anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, Ritch writes:
“I am grateful that the University administration suspended my impeachment proceedings, but am disappointed that the university has not recognized the need to publicly protect Jewish students from the type of antisemitic harassment I endured.”
However, when calling for Ritch’s impeachment, USC senior Abeer Tijani cited Ritch’s failure to respond to Fritz’s behavior as cause for removal. Tijani attempted to speak with Ritch; however, her requests were repeatedly declined.
“Her silence aids and abets the already taxing oppression and microaggressions that Black students face at USC daily,” wrote Tijani. “Her vocal support was missing during such a sensitive and alienating time for us.”
While she did not address allegations of silence, Ritch mentioned her deep belief in social justice and brought up the now-widely discussed “cancel culture.”
“In today’s day and age, our campuses have shifted from authentic, in-person conversations to comments and retweets, and we ‘cancel’ anyone with whom we disagree on any issue,” the letter reads. “There is a disturbing lack of nuance or willingness to grapple with the messy complexities of an issue, and there is no longer any room for change or growth”
Ritch declined to further comment on the matter.
According to the USG Constitution, Speaker of the Senate Gabe Savage is next in line for the presidency.
“I am certainly taking [the presidency] for now,” Savage said in a phone interview with Annenberg Media. “I don’t think USG can afford to be out of the loop on conversations with administrators from now until when a new president would be chosen. I think I’ll be reevaluating where I stand come fall semester.”
Savage will be sworn in as the new USG President at the start of the fall semester and the USG Senate will vote amongst themselves to elect a new Vice President and Speaker of the Senate.