A student at Kansas State University known for offensive social media posts and the formation of a controversial conservative student organization is no longer enrolled at the university.
K-State spokesperson Michelle Geering said Jaden McNeil is not enrolled in classes for the spring semester. Because of student privacy laws, she could not say whether the university forced him to leave, but officials previously said they would not expel him on the basis of the social media posts because the First Amendment protects such speech. Geering also couldn’t say whether McNeil has permanently stopped attending the university; if he left voluntarily he could still enroll. McNeil’s student organization, called America First Students, has no officers listed and is not registered with the university, therefore is no longer an officially-recognized campus organization.
McNeil this week made a post on Twitter that shows him attending the protest at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday with America First podcast host Nick Fuentes. The protest eventually turned into a riot as Trump supporters breached security to enter the Capitol, causing a lockdown of the building. Nothing from McNeil’s account indicated that he was among the people who went inside.
Supporters of Fuentes’ podcast include white supremacists and fans of far-right politics. “Far-right” refers to political groups that see the majority of the Republican Party as too liberal. Other tweets from McNeil said he was tear-gassed at the Capitol, and that “Lindsay Graham and his ilk are terrorists.” Graham is a longtime Republican senator from South Carolina.
McNeil was a junior political science major at K-State who fueled controversy on campus through 2020.
In October, McNeil had a shared a link to KSUnite livestream and Zoom call to his Twitter followers, which led commenters flooding the comment section of some of the sessions with racist comments. KSUnite is an annual event to promote diversity, equity and inclusion at K-State.
McNeil, in a since-deleted tweet, retweeted a message promoting the event, saying “Groypers, stand back and stand by.” McNeil’s tweet is both a reference to Groypers, a loose collective of alt-right figures, and a comment made by President Donald Trump during the first presidential debate on Sept. 29 when he said the same to Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group whose members advocate white supremacy.
In June, McNeil tweeted a joke about George Floyd, a Black man killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis in May. Floyd’s death launched protests nationwide and led to national discussions on systemic racism.
McNeil said “Congratulations to George Floyd on being drug free for an entire month!” The message drew sharp criticism from K-State students and alumni, who called for McNeil to be expelled. Others supported his right to free speech. In July, K-State President Richard Myers said, “while these messages are disrespectful and abhorrent, we cannot violate the law.”
In February, his student group was the subject of a report by the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, a Kansas City-based advocacy organization. The report said white supremacists were using America First Students as part of an effort to re-brand their racism through a more mainstream strategy that focused on college campuses.
McNeil has denied he is a white nationalist, yet two weeks after that report was issued, he took photos in gathering outside of Washington, D.C., with people who participated in a 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va.