On Monday, after days of protest, upheaval, and fierce controversy over the University of Missouri administration's response to racism on campus, both the system president and chancellor of the Columbia campus announced their resignations — the former effective immediately, the latter effective on Jan. 1. And on Tuesday, a new, frightening story broke out of Columbia, Missouri. The University of Missouri is investigating alleged threats against black students, advising many to "not spread rumors" in light of the serious events taking place on campus.
The threats have a particularly chilling salience, given the grisly, racially motivated mass shooting that rocked Charleston, South Carolina this summer. As Business Insider details, one alleged message circulating on social media — reportedly received by one student of the university via the anonymous posting app Yik Yak — stated the following: "I'm going to stand my ground tomorrow and shoot every black person I see." According to Gawker, another Yik Yak message reportedly claimed, "Tomorrow mizzou will really make national news."
The university is clearly aware of some of the threats, and they've enacted some caution. According to NBC News, the university police confirmed that there was also a threat placed by phone earlier in the day, directed at the campus' Black Cultural Center, which prompted a lockdown. They're maintaining that there's no immediate, known threat to the school, however, as stated by the Twitter account for the university's online emergency info center.
The alarm appears to have also stemmed from a tweet posted by Missouri Student Action President Payton Head that claimed there were KKK members on campus. Head has since deleted the tweet and apologized for sharing "misinformation."
The University of Missouri has undergone some sweeping, activism-fueled changes, all in less than a week — the whole uproar began when the college's football team announced they wouldn't play another game until university president Tim Wolfe resigned, due to outrage over the administration's alleged downplaying of racist incidents on campus.
It's important to avoid perpetuating fear-mongering, but as things appear to be escalating at Mizzou, students should remain vigilant about their safety. Better safe, than sorry.