A day after protests brought down two University of Missouri officials, reports of racially charged threats ignited on social media, spiral with rumors of violence leading to an alleged arrival of the KKK on campus. Although, University police have investigated the claims and determined the reports are indeed false, students aren’t taking the threats lightly as most are fearful of their lives.
The Black Culture Center was placed under lockdown after a threat was called in, that concerned their well-being and advised students to reframe from particular areas on campus. "Students please take precaution,” Payton Head, the student body president announced. “Stay away from the windows in residence halls. The KKK has been confirmed to be sighted on campus. I'm working with the MUPD, the state trooper and the National Guard."
A student took to Twitter to share her story of being harassed by a group of white people at Speaker’s Circle (a Mizzou landmark) in a blue truck without license plates.
The KKK reports spawn from cryptic and specific threats made the night prior on the social media platform Yik Yak.
“I’m going to stand my ground tomorrow and shoot every black person I see,” a post threatened via a Yik Yak post. Adding, “some of you are alright. Don’t go to campus tomorrow.”
Yik Yak is a social media app that allows users to share anonymous messages, or Yaks, with users in a five-mile radius. However, the man police arrested early Wednesday morning (Nov. 11), Hunter M. Park, for posting the threats, was detained more than 90 miles south of Columbia. Park, who is not a Mizzou student, was transferred to Boone County Jail and charged with terrorist threats, were he is now held on a $4,500 bond.
Even before the arrest was announced, campus police insisted there was no imminent danger.
"Students need to be aware of what is going on, but right now there is no active threat on campus," police spokesman Maj. Brian Weimer said.
"The campus is not on lockdown. There is heightened awareness due to the national attention we are getting, but again the reports you are seeing on social media are largely inaccurate."
Chancellor Loftin, who recently resigned from his position earlier this week following the protests, says MUPD is aware of the threats and has increased security in the aid of the students safety.
"We are increasing the number of available counselors and continue to have an after-hours phone line for students to call if they need to talk with someone," Cathy Scroggs, vice chancellor for student affairs, said in a statement. "The Counseling Center has its full staff ready to assist and has additional counselors on standby as needed. In addition, Counseling Center staff are actively reaching out to key student groups to offer assistance. We know our students are still processing their emotions and feelings about the events over the last several days. I'm very thankful to our MUPD and our campus community for continuing to keep our campus safe."