The former leader of a black student group at a New Jersey university has admitted to making false threats against fellow black students through an anonymous Twitter account in an effort to gather more followers at a rally on racial injustice.
Formerly a student at Kean University, Kayla-Simone McKelvey, who is also black, now faces up to 90 days in jail. State prosecutors are also asking that she be charged with paying $82,000 in order to cover the costs associated with police response and heightened security at the school after the threats were met.
While she pleaded not guilty at a previous hearing, prosecutors believe she left a rally on November 12 to write threats to black students at the school using an anonymous account on the social media site Twitter from a campus library in her efforts to gather attendees at the rally. She is said to have returned to the rally to tell people about the threats.
According to screenshots taken of the account before it was suspended, tweets sent out included, “I will shoot every black woman and male I see at Kean University,” and also, “I will kill all the blacks tonight tomorrow and any other day if they go to Kean University.”
Another message told students, “The cops won’t save you… you’re black.”
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security noted that as a result of the incident, security at the school was increased and a number of law enforcement agencies were notified.
The threats also caused students and a group of black ministers to push for the resignation of Kean President Dawood Farahi. The group argued that the threats prove not enough has been done at the school to reduce the racial tension in existence on campus, writes Aftab Ali for The Independent.
However, shortly after an investigation uncovered McKelvey’s involvement and determined the claims of racial tension to be baseless, Dr. Farahi issued a statement to the student body saying that staff at the school were “saddened” to hear that the incident was caused by “an active participant in the rally that took place on campus… and is a former student of Kean.”
He went on to say, “as a diverse academic community, we wholeheartedly respect and support activism. However, no cause or issue gives anyone the right to threaten the safety of others. We hope this information will begin to bring a sense of relief and security to the campus community.”
McKelvey’s attorney requested that she be allowed to attend a pretrial intervention program in order to avoid jail time. If she gained entrance into the program, she could have also had the charges removed from her record, reports Jon Street for The Blaze. Her attorney added that she was “quite remorseful.”
However, that request has been denied by Superior Court Judge William Daniel.
Her sentencing is currently scheduled to take place on June 17. If convicted, she faces a maximum of three to five years jail time.