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Arrest made after social media app threats against black students

Suspect allegedly used Yik Yak to threaten black students at Michigan Tech; similar threats made in Missouri

A person has been arrested for allegedly making threats through the social media messaging app Yik Yak against black students at Michigan Technological University, a spokeswoman for the school said Friday.

The suspect, who has not been publicly identified, was scheduled to appear at the Houghton County District Court on Friday, university spokeswoman Jennifer Donovan said. Houghton is in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, near Lake Superior.

Michigan Tech is a state university with an enrollment of about 7,000 students. About 1.1 percent of them are black, Donovan said.

The alleged threat was similar to several made through Yik Yak this week in Missouri. Hunter M. Park, a 19-year-old student at the Missouri University of Science and Technology, was arrested for allegedly posting threats on the social media app against University of Missouri students and faculty, the University of Missouri student paper, The Maneater, reported.

In a separate incident, a 19-year-old student from Northwest Missouri State University was charged with two counts of making a terrorist threat. The student is accused of posting a threat on Yik Yak that read, "I'm gonna shoot any black people tomorrow, so be ready." 

Such incidents have contributed to tensions on some U.S. university campuses, where students have this week staged marches and walkouts to protest what they see as school officials' lenient approach to racial abuse.

Online threats also were made Thursday at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

The Michigan Tech suspect is accused of making anonymous threats on Yik Yak, the university said in a statement. After the comments were discovered around midday on Thursday, the school increased its police presence as a precaution.

The suspect was arrested late Thursday night and is being held at the Houghton County Jail, Donovan said.

“It’s important to remember that we are a community and will not tolerate threats to any member of our family,” Michigan Tech President Glenn Mroz said in a statement. “It’s time we watch out for one another.”

Further information would be released in the coming hours, Donovan said.

Wire services

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