A suspect was arrested on charges of making threats against African American Michigan Technological University students via the social media application Yik Yak. The individual has yet to be identified by authorities, but is scheduled to make a court appearance at the Houghton County Circuit Court Friday morning.
Houghton County is located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, close to Lake Superior. Michigan Technological University has a student body population of about 7,000 and approximately 1.1 percent are black.
Not Very Different from Yik Yak Incidents at Other Universities
The threat of violence against African Americans is not very different from another one made on Yik Yak in Missouri earlier this week. The Yik Yak threats have caused racial tensions to heighten on university campuses throughout the United States. Walkouts and marches have been inspired by the threats because many students feel that school officials are taking a hands-off approach when it comes to racial abuse. Howard University in Washington, D.C., also saw some Yik Yak threats on Thursday.
Police allege that the Yik Yak suspect from Michigan Tech made various anonymous threats. The comments were noted on Thursday midday and school officials bolstered the presence of police on campus in an abundance of caution. The suspect was located and arrested that evening. He is currently in jail in Houghton County.
Michigan Tech President Offered Students Words of Encouragement
The president of Michigan Technological University, Glenn Mroz, issued a statement that the school does not tolerate threats against any of its community members. "It's time we watch out for one another," he said.
Yik Yak is an anonymous, location-based smartphone messaging application that allows users to publish posts that can be seen by other users within a specific radius. The application is controversial because it has been used to anonymously threaten, shame and bully others. It will be interesting to see how the instant criminal matter progresses, because the case could serve as a point of reference for future prosecutions involving the new technology.
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