A chief financial officer at St. Thomas University just handed in her resignation after being told to choose between her administrative position at the university or her board seat for American Outdoor Brands, manufacturer of the Smith and Wesson AR-15 used in the Parkland, Florida mass shooting.
Anita Britt had joined the board of directors for American Outdoor Brands days before an ex-student claimed 17 lives in Florida school shooting using the same style of gun manufactured by the company.
Corporate filings show that Britt would be annually earning approximately $100,000 by sitting on the company board.
St. Thomas’ president, Rev. Monsignor Franklyn Casale, had previously maintained that Britt’s decision to stay on board for the AR-15 manufacturing company did not affect her administrative role at the college. However, after the catholic college’s faculty passed a motion of disagreement, Casale had to backtrack on his statement.
“It has become clear that many of the sensible and reasonable solutions to this gun epidemic, which have been discussed previously, were becoming less and less clear,” Casale said in a statement. “Accordingly, yesterday I advised Ms. Britt that she needed to make a choice of either resigning her role on American Outdoor Brands, or her role as CFO at St. Thomas University, but that she could not continue on both. Ms. Britt informed me this afternoon that she has decided to resign her position at St. Thomas University.”
The motion from the college faculty came as a result of immense peer pressure from the community demanding the institution to separate themselves from any association related to the manufacturers of AR-15 rifles.
A petition was signed asking Britt to disassociate herself from American Outdoor Brands. It read, “We urge you to end your association with a company that profits from making and selling the AR-15 style rifles used in numerous school shootings and mass shootings across America.”
However, Britt instead decided to give up her administration job at the university in favor of the company that sells the notorious AR-15 rifles.
The University previously released a statement supporting Britt and claiming her board seat could “help in making communities safer.”
“At St. Thomas University, we believe that our community and our world can be a better place. We believe Ms. Britt’s position with American Outdoor Brands provides her the opportunity to participate in helping the company achieve its objectives of making our communities safer and that her role with the company does not conflict with her responsibilities here at St. Thomas. Ms. Britt’s contributions to our organization are noteworthy, and we look forward to her continued participation in our leadership,” said a spokesperson for the university.
The petition, initially started by Praveen Kathpal, a father in Virginia who wanted to do something about gun violence, forced the school to change its standing on the issue resulting in Britt’s resignation.
“I realized that some of the most recent additions came from a very mainstream business background. If people from the mainstream business community don’t want this association, realize there’s a reputational risk, the pool they’re drawing from would be greatly diminished,” Kathpal stated on American Outdoors Brands’ board.
More than 140 people have now signed an online petition demanding that Anita Britt, the chief financial and administrative officer at St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens, resign from American Outdoor Brands' board.— Never Again Movement (@NeverAgainMov) March 10, 2018
Petition: https://t.co/mG2y2kMBz4 https://t.co/WSQbMudVnW
Ever since the Florida shooting, the NRA and related weapon manufacturers have received heavy criticism for their role in easily accessible weapons usually used in mass shootings all over the country prompting various businesses to cut ties with them.
Thumbnail/ Banner Credits: Reuters, Joe Skipper