Last night, students of the University of Missouri were in a state of readiness after they learned someone had posted a vague death threat on the campus’ Yik Yak thread reading “Some of you are alright. Don’t go to campus tomorrow.”
News of the threat spread fast around campus and social media.
Soon, a more direct and threatening post appeared on the timeline.
School authorities were quick to step up and answer the call.
This morning, Columbia police announced that they had arrested a suspect in connection to the posts (plural). That suspect is probably looking at a minimum of one felony charge.
Update: MUPD released the name and information of the man they arrested.
Here’s part of their official statement:
University of Missouri Police have apprehended the suspect who posted threats to campus on YikYak and other social media. The suspect is in MUPD custody and was not located on or near the MU campus at the time of the threat. We will update this website as additional information is confirmed. MU is operating on a regular schedule. Please check here for official information. Safety is the university’s top priority and we are working hard to assure that the campus remains safe while information is obtained and confirmed.
The school’s outgoing chancellor, R. Bowen Loftin, also posted on Twitter that the suspect used “multiple accounts” to make those threats.
My biggest question is that how was the suspect not located on or near the MU campus when the threat was made? Isn’t Yik Yak supposed to be location based? It’s possible that the person was an alumni or a current student away from campus when it was written and had the location saved on his device. Either way, we’re happy the situation was dealt with.
The truth is that a few hateful people had been writing racist, hurtful things on Yik Yak since Monday and the #ConcernedStudent1950 movement’s peak, but no one had gone ahead and directly crossed the line until last night.
People stupidly (and thankfully) assume that everything they post from their phone is anonymous–but it’s not. This is the second time in less than a month that threats made on Yik Yak have resulted in arrests.