Vanderbilt University Coach’s Pro Kanye West Post Violated School Polices, Chancellor Says
Vanderbilt University has determined that a football coach violated school policies when he posted on social media comments supporting Kanye West.
“Kanye is two steps ahead of everyone. He’s not crazy. People try to silence him because he thinks for himself,” defensive backs coach Dan Jackson said on Facebook in November, replying to someone else’s post. “People don’t want that. Rappers and athletes are taught they need to think the same as the media/politicians. If they have an opinion that is opposite the mainstream, they’re called crazy. More people need to wake up and speak their mind.”
An internal investigation found that Jackson’s comments, which went viral after being shared by StopAntisemitism and were widely covered by media outlets across the country,”were not discriminatory” but had violated the university’s electronic communications policies, according to a statement issued by athletics chancellor Candice Lee. He has since apologized for making them, claiming that he was unaware that of Kanye West’s antisemitic tirades.
“After being made aware of discriminatory statement made by West, I was sickened to know that my words could be interpreted as hurtful,” Jackson said in a statement shared by the university. “For this I am saddened and apologetic. In no way do I support antisemitism or any form of discrimination, nor do I condone any form of bias.”
In Tuesday’s statement, Vice Chancellor Lee, also denounced antisemitism and announced that Jackson will not return to coaching football this season. He is currently receiving trainings in bias and anti-discrimination, as well as “coaching on leadership and social media use.”
“These sessions will continue throughout the spring semester at a minimum,” Lee added, explaining that Jackson has offered to do more.
“This situation — as painful as it is — also presents an opportunity to learn from and support one another,” she continued. “As an institution we challenge ourselves daily to dare to grow. I believe that to do this, we must have both courage and understanding, and we look forward to using this moment to show that we are capable of just that.”
On Wednesday, Jewish on Campus (JOC), a nonprofit antisemitism watchdog, commended Vanderbilt University for investigating Jackson.
“We also acknowledge that the statement made by Coach Jackson referenced racially insensitive remarks made by West. We stand together with the Vanderbilt students in the Jewish and Black communities who were harmed by his statement,” JOC spokesperson Michal Cohen said.
Since October, Kanye West, who legally changed his name to “Ye,” has uttered the most invective, antisemitic comments ever said by an American celebrity, blaming “Jewish Zionists” for his erratic behavior, declining stardom, and divorce from Kim Kardashian. He has not formally apologized for his remarks and continues to insist that they are divinely inspired.
On Sunday, he was named 2022’s “Antisemite of the Year,” by StopAntisemitism, an American nonprofit organization.
“Kanye West’s threats of violence, hateful conduct, and hate speech all led to his winning this year’s title,” the group said, explaining its decision. “Despite losing the vast majority of his fortune, being booted from social media, and ostracized from his social circles, West continued spreading his antisemitism.”