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When a Wisconsin jury acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse of murder charges last week, that development hampered the progress of science, a Virginia university’s chemistry department suggested in a series of online posts that at least one critic is deriding as inappropriate “politicized rhetoric.”

The communications on James Madison University’s official Instagram account also briefly included a so-called “student takeover” video in which a JMU student lamented the “murdering” of “two beautiful Black lives” – even though the jury agreed that Rittenhouse acted in self-defense and the two men he fatally shot were both White.

The JMU Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry posted a reminder on Saturday that it was difficult to concentrate on science when you fear you will be shot at or run over by protesters. They continued to refer to the many shootings of Black men by Black Lives Matter, which has now become rallying calls.

The department said, “It’s hard to focus on science if your loved one might be killed buying Skittles, selling cigarettes, playing with a gun or sitting in their home, walking, or wearing an hoodie, or even getting skittles.” This was obliquely referenced to Trayvon Martin, Ahmaud Abery and Tamir Rice. 


If you worry about your safety or the fate of the election, it can be difficult to keep your eyes on science….