CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A cadet will be removed from the Army Reserve Officers Training Corps for posting racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic and “pro-Nazism” messages on social media, an Army official said Wednesday.
Martha Gerdes is on a “leave of absence” from the program at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte pending her disenrollment from the ROTC, according to U.S. Army Cadet Command spokesman Maj. Robert Carter. Army Times was the first to report the discipline against Gerdes.
UNC-Charlotte spokeswoman Buffie Stephens said federal law prevents the university from commenting.
Gerdes was a student at Davidson College in North Carolina when the Army began investigating last November. Carter said ROTC officials learned of Gerdes’ online activities when an anti-racism group called Carolina Workers Collective posted screenshots of tweets it attributed to her.
Carter said Gerdes admitted to investigators that she anonymously posted the statements on her Twitter account, “@femanon,” which has been suspended. Gerdes’ online activities “are inconsistent with the high moral expectations of a future Army officer,” he added.
“Army ROTC remains committed to leadership excellence through diversity,” Carter said in a statement.
Efforts to reach Gerdes through phone calls to relatives weren’t immediately successful Wednesday.
Gerdes was enrolled at Davidson from August 2015 to November 2018, majoring in physics and working as a teaching assistant in the German studies department, said college spokesman Jay Pfeifer. He said he can’t comment on the circumstances of her departure from Davidson.
Army Times reported that Gerdes posted messages that appeared to advocate for a race war and defend the Nazi party. Above old photos of Ku Klux Klan members burning a cross, she tweeted that she was “born in the wrong era.” And, a day after a gunman killed 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue, she wrote that she didn’t care about “Jews getting shot up except insofar as it’s going to make it a lot harder for a lot of white people to just exist.”
In March, HuffPost reported that leaked online chat logs linked several members of the U.S. armed forces, including two Army ROTC cadets from Montana and New York, to a white nationalist group called Identity Evropa. Carter said both “are out of the programs now.”