Authorities said a 19-year-old white man suspected of posting online threats to shoot black students and faculty was arrested Wednesday, adding to the racial tensions at the heart of the protests that led to the resignations of two University of Missouri leaders earlier this week. Hunter M. Park, a student at a sister campus in Rolla, was arrested shortly before 2 a.m. at a residence hall, however according to the school no weapons were found.
Park, who has not yet been formally charged, is enrolled at the Missouri University of Science and Technology and because of the Veterans Day holiday, he will not appear in court until at least Thursday. The posts which were discovered Tuesday on the anonymous location-based messaging app YikYak and other social media, threatened to “shoot every black person I see.”
Even though there were other threats, authorities did not say if additional arrests were possible. Another threat said: “Some of you are alright. Don’t go to campus tomorrow.”
Before the university learned of the threats additional officers were already on campus. Police Maj. Brian Weimer said in a statement that University police were working with other state and local agencies to ensure the campus was secure.
Weimer said “We investigated a number of reports and tips and take every one of them seriously.” A spokeswoman for the Rolla school, Mary Helen Stoltz, said she did not know whether the university planned to take any action against Park over his arrest.
The university has promised changes. Chuck Henson, a black law professor and associate dean, was appointed Tuesday as the university’s first-ever interim vice chancellor for inclusion, diversity and equity.
The university system’s governing body, the Board of Curators, also announced other initiatives, including offering more support for hiring and retaining diverse faculty and staff and performing a full review of all policies related to staff and student conduct.
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