After mounting protests and opposition to the University of Missouri’s handling of racist incidents lead to president Tim Wolfe’s resignation on Monday, the Mizzou community was forced to reckon with even more overt racism.
The Missouri University Police Department investigated a series of threats against black students yesterday and Monday. During a closed meeting between student activists and the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus on Monday, someone phoned in a threat to the school’s Black Culture Center. A university police spokesperson quoted by the Columbia Missourian confirmed that they were investigating the threat.
Later in the day, the Washington Post reports, threats appeared on the anonymous message app Yik Yak, suggesting the possibility of a mass shooting:
“I’m going to stand my ground tomorrow and shoot every black person I see,” read one post on the anonymous message app Yik Yak.
“Some of you are alright,” began another post. “Don’t go to campus tomorrow.”
“We’re waiting for you at the parking lots,” read a third anonymous post. “We will kill you.”
University police announced this morning that they arrested a suspect in connection with the online threats.
In the two days since Wolfe’s resignation, the Mizzou community remains tense. The Post reports that several students of color took to social media, saying that the university wasn’t responding adequately to the threats and that they feared going to class today. One tweet from Jonathan Butler, the graduate student who went on a hunger strike last week in protest of the university’s handling of racism, read, “Death threats are being made to Black students and NO ADMINISTRATORS are responding effectively.”
One white professor, Dale Brigham, e-mailed one of his classes and implored students to come to class and not let “bullies” win. The e-mail drew criticism from students, including one quoted by the Washington Post:
“That’s our lives in danger,” said Triniti, 19, who asked The Post not to use her full name for fear of retaliation. “It’s very scary.
“I don’t want to even touch campus,” she said. “I don’t even want to leave my house, let alone go to campus. Just for the fact that… I know we are in the South and I know that we are the minority and racial tensions are really high.”
Triniti said Brigham was “a great professor” and “an amazing person” who cares deeply about his students. “Which is why I was surprised by his statement,” she said.
“He is just doing his job,” she said, “but as a student of color, I am torn.”
I am terrified ! We just literally walked passed a racist cult in speakers circle i dont feel safe at Mizzou anymore im ready to go
— Hailey (@mariehaileyy) November 11, 2015
Additionally, a St. Louis-based photographer on campus to cover the protests reported that he saw white men in a truck shouting the n-word at students:
— Bradley J. Rayford (@BradleyRayford) November 11, 2015
Payton Head, the Missouri Student Association president who helped push forth calls for the university to address racism earlier this year, posted on Facebook Tuesday night that the KKK was spotted on campus before apologizing on his Facebook page for “misinformation” on the sighting:
I’m sorry about the misinformation that I have shared through social media. In a state of alarm, I was concerned for all students of the University of Missouri and wanted to ensure that everyone was safe. I received and shared information from multiple incorrect sources, which I deeply regret. The last thing needed is to incite more fear in the hearts of our community. In the future, please receive emergency updates from MUalert.missouri.edu or @MUalert on Twitter ONLY.