Kalamazoo College, FBI investigate death threats and hate speech

Posted at 7:03 PM, Mar 05, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-05 19:19:00-05

KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- Kalamzoo College, local police and the FBI are looking into death threats and hate speech found on the school's website.

"One of the things the internet allows us to do is to make statements and not be responsible for the statements we make," Eileen Wilson-Oyelaran, Kalamazoo College's president told FOX 17.

The statements and pictures were posted Wednesday morning, just after midnight. It prompted administrators to call a campus wide closed-door meeting hours later.

"The chapel was absolutely full. We actually had people outside," she said.

Wilson-Oyelaran said, "Our student commission website had entries that were completely objectionable and antithetical that everything the college believes."

Posted through Google Docs on the website, she said there were racial and gender epithets, anti-semitic, islamophobic, and homophobic statements and pictures. The author was anonymous.

"Any button that could have been pushed was pushed by the images and the language in these entries and there's was also one that felt like a very direct threat to our faculty," she explained.

The person wrote that Thursday morning they planned to "start systematically executing faulty at Kalamazoo U. That will teach them the value of campus carry." The campus doesn't allow weapons on school property. A media spokesperson said one student is known to advocate for concealed carry. His request to change the policy has been denied and just last week, he reportedly flashed a holster at a group of students.

Wilson-Oyelaran said administrators told students (at the meeting) what actions are being taken to ensure campus safety. She said everyone in attendance had a chance to tell their own experiences.

"I think that one of the things that happens in a situation like this is everyone becomes frightened, and if you're not careful you fracture as a community, looking for someone to blame rather than coming together as a community and deciding how you can move forward," she explained.

Kalamazoo Public Safety officers were also in attendance. We've learned that patrols have increased. Wilson-Oyelaran said administrators believe the threat is not credible. However, she said they take every threat seriously.

Now an important conversation has been started, and she said the campus community can start thinking about "who does this kind of thing and why? And if you really believe everything you said in that post, come here to our community and say it to our faces."

Kalamazoo Public Safety and the school are looking at Internet Protocol addresses, better known as IP addresses. They've asked for assistance from the FBI.

Wilson-Oyelaran said K College did not cancel classes today. Some individual professors did and accomodated students who felt uncomfortable going to class.