University of Georgia Teaching Assistant Who Said ‘White People Might Have to Die’ Survives Possible Expulsion

By Zachary Stieber

A black teaching assistant and graduate student whose “some white people might have to die” statement went viral earlier this year was facing expulsion. There were allegations that he had omitted an arrest from his admissions application but ultimately survived the ordeal.

The student, Irami Osei-Frimpong, defended himself in late April at a hearing dealing with the complaint that he purposefully omitted a 2011 trespassing arrest from an Occupy Wall Street protest from his application. He also didn’t mention his prior studies at the University of Chicago. Penalties for falsely filling out graduate school applications include dismissal.

The African-American and his supporters claim the attempt to remove him stems from the racist statements he made in January. “Some white people may have to die for black communities to be made whole in this struggle to advance to freedom,” was one statement.

Osei-Frimpong waived his federal privacy rights and allowed public access to the hearing, which was packed, reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The hearing lasted six hours and Osei-Frimpong gave a defense that at some point “was akin to a classroom lecture,” the outlet reported.

Osei-Frimpong said that the trespassing charge was dismissed so he correctly answered a question about whether he had any previous charges or convictions. He said he was thinking about schools where he studied philosophy when he left out his study of political science at the University of Chicago.

“I don’t know about this conspiracy I’m hiding my arrest,” Osei-Frimpong said during the hearing. “I live a public life.”

In a post on Twitter on May 5, he added: “I’m not targeted because I’m Black; I’m targeted because I think the problem with Black America is how we make White people. If we want justice for Black Americans, we have to dismantle and replace the engines of White cultural production: their schools, churches, and families.”

He then suggested to his supporters that violence was necessary.

“I study philosophy because I think that White schools, churches, and families in America are internally incoherent and provide the resources for their own de-legitimacy. I study politics and psychology because de-legitimacy isn’t enough. We are going to need state guns,” he said.

The panel, made up of two students and a faculty member, decided that Osei-Frimpong did not violate the university’s student code of conduct, the Athens Banner-Herald reported on May 7.

No details about the panel’s decision were reported.

In an email obtained by the outlet and sent on Tuesday, the graduate student named a number of administrators he said engineered the case after some alumni threatened to withhold donations from the university.

“According to the investigative report, all of these people had the discretionary power to resolve this situation months ago; instead, they loaded down a panel of students and one staff person with the responsibility with presenting, adjudicating, and dismissing the Administration’s hastily contrived case,” Osei-Frimpong wrote. “It strikes me that either each one of these people is very bad at his/her job … or their job was to hassle me and send a message about how the university administration retaliates against political speech.”