Missouri Students using Yik Yak for Racial Threats

There have been many race-related incidents in the U.S in recent years. The latest incident involving the University of Missouri is a timely reminder that the nation needs to address the issue with more conviction to avoid further race-triggered conflicts. The University of Missouri has endured a torrid week that has seen racial tensions escalate and a new vice-chancellor of diversity appointed, following the resignation of the school’s chancellor and president. The latest incident has come on the back of weeks of racial tension through messages on social media.
A nineteen-year-old sophomore at the University, Hunter Park was apprehended by the University of Missouri police on Wednesday for threatening black students and faculty on social media. He was later taken into custody at 1:50 a.m. in Rolla, which is a hundred miles south of the flagship campus. He was then transported to the Boone County jail where his $4,500 bond revoked.

The arrest was made after there were high suspicions of a terrorist threat. The university police said threats were made to shoot black students on campus on Yik Yak, an anonymous social media sharing app. This came after an earlier phoned-in threat was made to the black culture center on campus. The police launched an investigation, locking down the building and searching for any weapons or anything suspicious. On Tuesday night, security notices were seen on some dorms on campus indicating that only visitors with identification for the building would be allowed in.

Black students, who are a minority at the mostly white campus, accuse the white students of taunting them through racial slurs, which led to the protests on campus. The unrest drew national attention on Saturday when black members of the University of Missouri’s football team declared that they would boycott all team activities until the president resigned for turning a blind eye to the crisis. Wolfe resigned immediately. He cited his failure to communicate with the protestors as a factor to blame for the unrest and stepping down was the right thing to do.

A Northwest Missouri State University student was also arrested and held for twenty-four hours as police launched an investigation into allegations that Connor B. Stottlemyre had sent a racial threat through Yik Yak; however, there have not been any incidents of protest at that college.

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