Home Youth activism University police respond to messages from Yik Yak threatening student protesters

University police respond to messages from Yik Yak threatening student protesters

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University police are responding to messages from Yik Yak threatening violence against students protesting a campus speech by Allen West, a former Republican congressman and former chairman of the Texas Republican Party, the university said in a statement. declaration.

The UPD had no reason to believe the threats were “specific” or “achievable”, University Police Chief Chris Bartolomei said.

The UPD had an “enhanced presence” during West’s speech and contacted the FBI’s hate crimes unit for help in investigating a threat.

Spectrum reporters counted at least 10 law enforcement officials present during West’s speech at 145 Student Union.

“We are taking the situation seriously and are implementing additional measures and precautions to protect the campus community,” Bartolomei said in the statement. “Safety is always our primary concern.”

All messages from Yik Yak are anonymous. It is not known at this time who posted these messages, although they were probably from a group five mile radius from UB’s North Campus, where students could view the publications.

West was invited to deliver his speech, titled “America Is Not Racist,” by Young Americans for Freedom, a conservative youth activism organization recognized as a Special Interest Club by the Student Association. Dozens of students protested West’s speech earlier Thursday by marching through the Academic Spine with signs reading “Racism is real” and “Black voices matter.” The protests culminated on the fifth floor of Capen Hall, where students demanded to meet UB President Satish Tripathi.

Dozens of students also protested West during his speech. They invaded the area outside SU 145 and surrounded the gates, while chanting slogans like “No justice, no peace” and “Racism is real”.

University administrators have stood by their decision to allow the YAF to invite West to speak at UB, saying SA-sponsored clubs can ‘invite speakers of their choice’ as long as they follow the guidelines of the UB. university and state laws.

“As a university, we want to make it very clear that we take very seriously our commitment to providing a safe and welcoming place for all UB students at all times,” Dean of Students Barbara Ricotta said in a statement. communicated. “We remain committed to upholding UB’s core values ​​of diversity, inclusion, and mutual respect throughout our university.”

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Justin Weiss and Julie Frey contributed reporting for this story.

Grant Ashley is News and Features Editor and can be contacted at [email protected]


TUNE ASHLEY

Grant Ashley is News and Features Editor at Spectrum. He holds a double major in political science and Spanish (poor). He enjoys taking long bike rides, cooking with his parents’ ingredients and recreating Bob Ross paintings in pencil. He can be found on Twitter @Grantrashley.

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