According to the Columbia Missourian, Missouri University Police arrested Hunter Park, 19, in connection with the threats at 1:50 a.m. Wednesday, and charged him with making a terroristic threat.
Park made threats via Yik Yak against MU students. The posts varied in intensity in threat levels. Some threatened students to stay off campus, but others were targeting certain minorities.
“I’m going to stand my ground tomorrow and shoot every black person I see,” one Yik Yak post read.
Some classes were canceled or professors allowed absence when students said they did not feel safe on campus.
Taylor Hisey Pierson, sophomore at Mizzou, uneasily went to class on Wednesday, after threats were made to the student body.
“You could feel the tension… The climate of the campus is intense. You hear stories of these types of events at other places on tv but it’s a different perspective being on campus and experiencing it. The situation is distracting when you’re trying to focus on studies, and other student’s safety,” Hisey Pierson said.
Yik Yak is a social media site that allows users to post anonymously and anyone within a 5 mile radius can see it, and vote on it to make it more or less popular.
“Social media gives people a certain level of power. Look at the ripple effect of this. People are not going to class and are afraid for their safety because of anonymous threat on a social media platform,” Hisey Pierson said. “It’s terrifying how [social media] is so out of control.”
The threats are just the most recent events in a sequence of actions at the university. Tensions had been high as students began pushing to get their university president Tim Wolfe to resign. Students launched a hunger strike and the Missouri Tigers football team said it would not play until Wolfe stepped down.
“I was walking to my bus and I’ve seen a huge amount of people walking across campus twice last week. Then you find out on Twitter it was a walk out or protest,” Hisey Pierson said.
During the homecoming parade earlier this year, the Concerned Students 1950’s group protested by linking arms and blocked Wolfe’s car in the parade route reciting the university’s racial history.
“It was very emotional and powerful. I felt like I was watching something from the civil rights movement. These are actual students I go to school with, and this is happening in 2015,” Hisey Pierson said.
The Columbia Missourian reported a protestor was clipped by the car.
Wolfe has since resigned, stating on the website that it was from tensions on campus.
Former Chancellor Mike Middleton was chosen to take Wolfe’s place. According to Mizzou’s website, he was the third African-American graduate student to graduate from MU Law School.
The school leadership team, Hank Foley, Garnett S. Stokes and Chuck Henson posted a statement on Nov. 11 on their social media and web sites noting the recent events, the journey ahead to overcome it and the services students can seek out if they need it.
“Our campus has experienced significant turbulence, and many within our community have suffered threats against their lives and humanity. These threats are reprehensible… The process of making our campus as inclusive as it must be will not be easy. We have difficult conversations ahead, and we must all dedicate ourselves to learning together…” the Mizzou website stated.
These events have led college students across the country stand in solidarity with Mizzou in marches, or on social media posting #ConcernedStudent1950.