University of Missouri police arrest 2 suspects behind social media threats

Members of Concerned Student 1950 celebrate after the resignation of Missouri University president Timothy M. Wolfe on the Missouri University Campus November 9, 2015 in Columbia, Missouri. © Brian Davidson
Two men suspected of posting threats to protesters at the University of Missouri have been arrested by local authorities. Student protests over claims that the school ignored racially motivated incidents have led to resignations of two top Mizzou officials.

University of Missouri Police said in a statement on Wednesday that they apprehended a suspect believed to have posted threats on Yik Yak, an anonymous location-based messaging app, and other social media. They identified the suspect as 19-year-old Hunter M. Park.

“The suspect is in MUPD custody and was not located on or near the MU campus at the time of the threat,” the statement said.

Another man was arrested later in the day. Identified as  Connor Stottlemyre, 19, the young man is a student at Northwest Missouri State University, Reuters reported. He has not been charged yet as officials investigate.

One Yik Yak post had threatened to "shoot every black person I see." Another post said, "Some of you are alright. Don't go to campus tomorrow." This was a gesture toward the post made on 4chan, an anonymous board infamous for its shocking content, the night before the shooting at an Oregon community college last month.

Two of the school's sororities were placed on lockdown following the threats.

The University has bolstered its security in the face of the online threats, which came after weeks of protests over alleged instances of racial intimidation. These instances – which included harassment a swastika drawn with human feces on a dorm bathroom and black students allegedly having racial insults thrown at them – led to protests that resulted in the departure of both the president of the University of Missouri system and the chancellor of the system’s flagship campus.

The University of Missouri’s undergraduate student government contacted administration officials asking for classes to be canceled on Wednesday.

However, the university’s online emergency information center said: “There is no immediate threat to campus” and cautioned about spreading rumors.

R. Bowen Loftin, the outgoing chancellor of the university system's flagship campus in Columbia, posted about that the suspect on twitter, saying that he was not on or near the campus when the threat was made.

Park was found in Rolla, Missouri, 94 miles south of of the campus.

Last month, the protest group calling itself 'Concerned Student 1950' issued a list of demands, including an admission of "white male privilege" from university president Tim Wolfe, his removal from office, as well as a comprehensive racial awareness and inclusion curriculum overseen by minority students and faculty.

Graduate student Jonathan Butler felt so strongly about what was happening on campus that he stopped eating. Early last week, he launched a hunger strike, vowing to keep it up until Wolfe stepped down.

READ MORE: University of Missouri president, chancellor step down amidst protests over racial tensions

After Wolfe announced he was resigning on Monday, Butler ended his strike and tweeted, "More change is to come!! #TheStruggleContinues."

But many on social media are casting a critical eye on the ideological agenda behind the student protests.

Some question the veracity of threats that have no evidence to support them and only garner sympathy and moral authority for alleged victims.

Others point out that Butler, who is protesting against "white privilege," is actually privileged himself, coming from a wealthy family. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Butler's father is a top executive at the Union Pacific Railroad who earned $8.4 million in 2014.

The University of Missouri's Columbia campus has a population of 35,000 students. The undergraduate student body is about 79 percent white, while African-Americans make up roughly eight percent of undergraduates. The school's faculty is also more than 70 percent white, with black representation of just over three percent, according to the university.