SM East senior Emma Sullivan expects she’ll get called back to principal Karl Krawitz’s office Monday. And when she does, she’s prepared to let Krawitz know she’s decided to take a stand: She won’t be writing a letter of apology to Gov. Sam Brownback’s office.The decision comes after a whirlwind holiday weekend over which a tweet she sent during a trip to the capital last Monday set off a chain of events that catapulted Sullivan into the center of a national media story that’s continued to pick up momentum on social media. (Check out Wichita Eagle reporter Suzanne Tobias’s Storify recap of the whole ordeal here).
In fact, Sullivan is scheduled to do a live interview over the phone with CNN at 2:15 p.m. Monday. (She’ll be missing Marketing class — but getting a hands-on lesson in PR, to be sure).
After the story hit Kansas City media outlets Wednesday, the hashtag #heblowsalot exploded on Twitter, with more than a tweet a minute on average by Friday. Sullivan, who had just 60 followers on Twitter when she sent the message, had picked up more than 4,000 Sunday night.
Sullivan says the whole incident caught her more than a little off guard.
“It’s surreal,” she said. “I sent the message because a couple of the people who followed me on Twitter were at the conference with me, and I figured they’d see it and think it was funny. I honestly didn’t give it another thought after I sent it.”
Until, that is, Krawitz called her to his office Tuesday and told her she should write a letter of apology to the governor’s office.
“I’ve never been in trouble before,” she said. “That was new.”
While the majority of the feedback she’s gotten has been supportive, she says some have criticized the lack of specific criticisms in her anti-Brownback tweet.
“I have heard some of that,” she said. “But I only had 140 characters. There are plenty of his policies that I disagree with, though.”
Among them, she says, are the governor’s decision to disband the Kansas Arts Commission and the moves toward further restricting a woman’s right to access abortion services that have occurred during Brownback’s tenure.
“I’m a liberal, and I disagree with a lot of the things that have happened since he’s taken office,” she said. “I hope the whole incident draws attention to those things and sparks a discussion about the first amendment and social media.”