A former Kean University student has been charged with making fake threats against fellow black students on Twitter that increased racial tensions and led to heightened security.
Kayla-Simone McKelvey, from Union Township, New Jersey, is facing prison after she allegedly wrote on social media that there was a bomb on campus and said she would kill ‘any black person’ at the school.
The 24-year-old was told on Tuesday she faces one count of creating a false public alarm, which carries a maximum three- to five-year sentence behind bars.
McKelvey was involved in a rally on racial issues at Kean. She then went to a campus library computer and posted the anonymous threats against black students, the Union County prosecutor’s office said.
The 24-year-old was told on Tuesday she faces one count of creating a false public alarm, which carries a maximum three- to five-year sentence behind bars. One of the messages said there was a bomb on campus
The first message around 10pm said: ‘kean university twitter against blacks is for everyone who hates blacks people’.
She then made a threat about a bomb on the campus, and then continued with several other tweets about shooting black students at the university.
Her final message added: ‘i will kill every black male and female at kean university.’
Investigators said McKelvey returned to the rally and tried to raise awareness about the threats. She posted screenshots of the tweets on her own page alongside photos from the demonstration.
The rally came in the wake of racial unrest at the University of Missouri and other college campuses.
Security was increased at Kean after the threats were discovered, though classes weren’t affected.
But the threats did lead a group of black ministers to call for Kean President Dawood Farahi to resign the following day, saying that the threats showed that he hadn’t done enough to address alleged racial tension on campus.
The school responded that the claims of racial tension were baseless.
Farahi said in a statement posted on the school’s Twitter account Tuesday that the school was ‘saddened to learn that the person allegedly responsible was an active participant in the rally that took place on campus … and is a former student of Kean.’
‘No cause or issue gives anyone the right to threaten the safety of others,’ Farahi said. ‘We hope this information will begin to bring a sense of relief and security to the campus community.’
According to McKelvey’s Linkedin profile, she graduated from Kean this May with a degree in Global Fitness and Wellness and currently works as a personal trainer.
She was also the school’s 2014 homecoming queen and president of the Pan African Student Union, according to her profile.
Kean is one of the most racially diverse campuses in New Jersey.
Last year’s freshman class was 31 per cent white, 30 per cent Hispanic, 20 per cent black, 5 per cent Asian and 14 per cent unknown or other, according to state data.
McKelvey is scheduled to make a court appearance in two weeks.
It wasn’t immediately known Tuesday if McKelvey had retained an attorney who could comment on the accusations.
She hasn’t responded to the allegations.