Threats to black Kean U. students traced to black alum, protest participant
Kean University President Dawood Farahi shocked a crowd of students and faculty Tuesday when he revealed the identity of the suspect responsible for threatening to kill a group of black students at a campus rally on Nov. 17.
“We are saddened to learn that the person allegedly responsible was an active participant in the rally that took place on campus on Tuesday, Nov. 17, and is a former student of Kean,” Farahi said.
Police identified 24-year-old African-American Kayla-Simone McKelvey, who formerly attended Kean University, as the anonymous Twitter user who posted threats against black students the night of the rally.
According to police, McKelvey left the Nov. 17 demonstration to create an anonymous Twitter account called “Keanuagainstblk.” McKelvey began to post a series of anonymous tweets around 10 p.m. The Twitter account was created on a computer in the school’s library, according to police.
“Kean university twitter against blacks is for everyone who hates black people,” the first post stated.
“I will shoot any black person I see at Kean University,” McKelvey allegedly wrote in a separate tweet.
After creating the anonymous account, she returned to the on-campus rally to warn students about the anonymous threats.
McKelvey is the former president of the Pan-African Student Union and has been charged with third-degree creating a public false alarm.
More than 150 students attended Tuesday’s meeting where a panel of faculty members answered questioned about the university’s response to the threats.
In response to one question, James Conyers, director of the African Studies Department, called the threats a consequence of the perpetuation of racism in society.
“It does not matter that it was a black person who did this. It was all in the context of racism,” Conyers said.
Kristal Noyan, current president of the Pan-African Student Union, reportedly fended off accusations of being an accomplice to McKelvey during the panel.
Over the past few months, student activists have been up in arms over alleged on-campus racism. Tim Wolfe, the University of Missouri president, was forced out of his position, professors at Yale have been chastised for defending free speech, and students at Harvard are protesting over an alleged hate-crime.
Randall Kennedy, a black professor at Harvard Law School, recently wrote an op-ed in The New York Times suggesting that the alleged hate-crime at Harvard, which consisted of black strips of tape being placed over black law professors’ portraits, might not be a hate-crime at all.
Kennedy was among the professors whose photos were covered with black tape.
“The identity and motives of the person or people behind the taping have not been determined. Perhaps the defacer is part of the law school community. But maybe not. Perhaps the defacer is white. But maybe not. Perhaps the taping is meant to convey anti-black contempt or hatred for the African-American professors, but maybe it was meant to protest the perceived marginalization of black professors, or was a hoax meant to look like a racial insult in order to provoke a crisis,” Kennedy wrote.
Kennedy is worried student activists are “exaggerating the scope” of racism and has called for more details about the case.
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