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Culture > News

University of Missouri Student Arrested For Threats Against Black Students

University of Missouri-Columbia student Hunter Park was taken into custody Wednesday at one of the university’s residence halls. The charges against him were making a “terrorististic threat” using the app Yik Yak, according to Boone County Prosecuting Attorney Daniel Knight.  

Park was charged with making the alleged threat to “shoot every black person I see” on Wednesday, after tensions had risen surrounding violence toward black students on campus. Other students on campus reported via Twitter that they saw a group of men wearing bandannas, covering their faces, and yelling racial slurs at black students. 

Other anonymous posts on Yik Yak included: “We’re waiting for you at the parking lots. We will kill you,” and “Don’t go to campus tomorrow.” 

Park is a sophomore at the Missouri University of Science and Technology, which is within the MU system.

“Threats of violence of any kind are not tolerated,” says Cheryl B. SchraderMissouri S&T Chancellor . “As a campus, we are grateful that this situation did not escalate. As always, the safety of our students, faculty and staff is our utmost concern.”

The suspect was not on or near the campus at the time the threat was posted, according to the university website

Park was held on a $4,500 bond at Columbia. His initial arraignment was scheduled for this Thursday. The university said that no weapons were found during the police investigation. 

A Northwest Missouri State University freshman, Connor Stottlemyre, was also arrested in connection with the threats, according to the Kansas City Star.

The student body received a mass email on Tuesday asking them to come forward with any “hateful/and or hurtful speech” to the campus police. 
Students requested that the university cancel classes because they felt unsafe, but on Wednesday, the university sent a message that there was not an immediate threat to campus. 

The racial tensions on campus followed the resignation of Tim Wolfe, who had served as president of the University of Missouri system, and the stepping down of R. Bowen Loftin as chancellor of the Columbia campus. Wolfe’s resignation came after students protested racist incidents on campus that he failed to address, and this has left the MU system in a flurry of ongoing racial tensions. 

Alaina Leary is an award-winning editor and journalist. She is currently the communications manager of the nonprofit We Need Diverse Books and the senior editor of Equally Wed Magazine. Her work has been published in New York Times, Washington Post, Healthline, Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Boston Globe Magazine, and more. In 2017, she was awarded a Bookbuilders of Boston scholarship for her dedication to amplifying marginalized voices and advocating for an equitable publishing and media industry. Alaina lives in Boston with her wife and their two cats.