Kean Twitter threats ‘unsubstantiated,’ university president says
In a statement on the Kean University website Wednesday afternoon, the school's president said serious threats — some targeting black students — made via Twitter late Tuesday night remain "unsubstantiated" and the investigation is ongoing.
"I want to report to you this afternoon that the investigation is ongoing, however I must emphasize that the threats remain unsubstantiated," Kean President Dawood Farahi said on the website. "We intend to pursue this investigation and the prosecution of the individual(s) responsible with all available resources. We simply will not allow individual(s) to impede the opportunities that higher education and Kean University in particular provide our students."
On Tuesday night, a group of about 70 students "gathered peacefully" near the clock tower outside the Miron Student Center at Kean. The demonstration was an effort to "raise consciousness about racial and social injustices plaguing our society," Farahi said.
The threats came an hour later - at about 10 p.m. - from an anonymous Twitter account. The unidentified individual "began sending tweets containing bias threats about members of the Kean community. One of the tweets contained a campus bomb threat."
On the of tweets read: “I will shoot any black person i see at kean university(sic).”
In the wake of the threats, a coalition of black church ministers in New Jersey are calling for the university president's resignation, claiming he hasn't done enough to subdue the racial tensions they believe have been building at the school.
"The deplorable death threat against black students on the campus of Kean University did not happen in a vacuum, but arose from a climate of racial intolerance that has been allowed to fester for years under this president's watch," the Rev. Ronald Slaughter, senior pastor of Saint James AME Church in Newark told NJ Advance Media Wednesday.
The ministers claim racial intolerance was prevalent even before the Twitter threats were sent Tuesday. The coalition told NJ Advance Media that the NAACP is investigating the university after several black, female employees of Kean were terminated "on suspicious grounds." The story also states that the university has "been hit with numerous lawsuits alleging racial discrimination, many of which were quietly settled."
On Tuesday afternoon, Farahi said on the Kean website that he visited a group of students assembled near the student center to express his "support for their efforts to shine a light on issues of racial and social injustices across our country."
"I am proud to see such assemblies on our campus; higher education in this country has always been the place where great ideas take root, grow and flourish. I encourage our students to identify issues and ideas that will further efforts to unite our campus, our state and our nation," Farahi said in a statement on the website. He said the university is consistently ranked as one of the most diverse in the nation.
The university remained open Wednesday despite the threats, although there was heightened security. The Department of Homeland Security, state, county and local municipalities were also notified.
Toniann Antonelli is the digital managing editor at NJ 101.5. Reach her at email@example.com, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.