- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The chief financial officer at St. Thomas University in South Florida resigned Tuesday amid backlash over her position on the board of trustees for American Outdoor Brands Corporation, the parent company of gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson.

Anita Britt’s position on the board came under fire following last month’s mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida, just 40 miles away from St. Thomas University. Ms. Britt, who joined the private Catholic university in January, joined the American Outdoor board on Feb. 6, eight days before the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 students and teachers were killed, the Miami Herald reported.

In a statement issued to the Miami Herald, the university’s president, Rev. Monsignor Franklyn M. Casale, walked back comments he had previously made saying Ms. Britt’s role on the board would not conflict with her duties at St. Thomas. He said Ms. Britt was given an ultimatum to leave the board if she wanted to continue in her position at the school.

“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,” Mr. Casale said Tuesday. “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.”

Ms. Casale told the Miami Herald that the public outcry over Ms. Britt’s involvement with a major gun manufacturer swayed his position.

“I came to the conclusion that St. Thomas was being associated with gun violence and that was not an image I thought was good for the university,” he said.

A petition demanding Ms. Britt resign from the board at American Outdoor fetched more than 300 signatures.

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