The chief financial officer at a Florida university was forced to resign because she holds a position on the board of a company that manufactures guns, Inside Higher Ed reported.
Anita Britt, the CFO at St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens, Florida, had been at the school for five years.
In February, she accepted a position on the board of American Outdoor Brands, formerly Smith & Wesson Holding Corp.
After initially supporting her new role, university officials changed their mind this week and the school president gave Britt an ultimatum: She had to choose between her job at St. Thomas and her position on the board at American Outdoor Brands.
Britt chose to resign.
Why the total change of stance?
The forced resignation completely contradicts the university’s initial response.
Just last week, St. Thomas president, the Rev. Monsignor Franklyn M. Casale wrote:
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. 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.
Alleging that American Outdoor Brands manufactured the AR-15 used by the killer in the Parkland, Florida, school shooting, backlash mounted against Britt and against the university for supporting her. Local media accused the school of affiliating with the National Rifle Association, and citizens organized a petition calling for her resignation.
Casale issued a second statement Tuesday, reversing his initial stance.
After my statement of this past Friday, 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. Accordingly, 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. I have accepted Ms. Britt’s resignation as CFO of St. Thomas University.
American Outdoor Brands pays its board members more than $100,000 per year, according to the company’s public filings, the Miami Herald reported. A university spokesperson declined to reveal Britt’s salary at St. Thomas, citing school policy, but a vice chair of the faculty forum said he recalled the previous CFO earning “quite a lot more money” than $100,000, the Herald reported.