[Updated (11/11/2015, 7:07 p.m.) with news of the arrest of another student accused of making a terrorist threat on Yik Yak.]
The University of Missouri’s police department on Wednesday morning arrested a man on suspicion of making a terrorist threat on Yik Yak amid an upheaval over racism on the campus. The Columbia Missourian, citing the police, reported that the man, who was found more than 90 miles way, in Rolla, Mo., is a white student at the Missouri University of Science and Technology.
Later on Wednesday, the campus police at Northwest Missouri State University, in Maryville, Mo., arrested a freshman for the same reason. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the student’s Yik Yak post said, “I’m gonna shoot any black people tomorrow, so be ready.” A university spokesman told the newspaper that it was not clear if the racial tension at the University of Missouri’s flagship had prompted the post.
The police force on the Columbia campus had stepped up its security on Monday and Tuesday as national attention converged on Columbia because of protests that led to the resignations of both the university system’s president, Timothy M. Wolfe, and the flagship’s chancellor, R. Bowen Loftin.
Amid the fallout from the resignations were fears that black students would be targeted. On Tuesday the police department sent an email to students asking that they report any “hateful or hurtful” speech. Many students took to Twitter on Tuesday to express concern about threats, both real and perceived:
Black students are tweeting that they fear for their lives at #mizzou.
— Kayla Reed (@RE_invent_ED) November 11, 2015
black students are terrified & are evacuating the campus.
— a (@nonbinarynegro) November 11, 2015
sent to me by another Mizzou student. Attach every picture you find in your emails to your professors! pic.twitter.com/a8A2V0blXg
— Shirley Temper (@TaeGawd) November 11, 2015
Racist rhetoric on Yik Yak, an anonymous messaging app, helped fuel discontent over the university’s response to several racist incidents in recent months.
In a statement, Brooks Buffington, Yik Yak’s co-founder and chief operating officer, said the threats made at Missouri were “both upsetting and completely unacceptable.” He directed users to the app’s terms of service, which state that users who violate certain conditions can be banned or suspended.
The police said in a statement that the Missouri University of Science and Technology student they suspect of having made the threat, Hunter M. Park, was arrested early Wednesday and transported to Columbia.