It probably seemed like a good idea at the time.
With racial tensions already high on university campuses across the U.S., and 100 black activists from New Jersey’s Kean University holding a protest rally against racial intolerance, the former leader of a black student group thought she could throw a little gas on the fire, stir up the crowd and do so anonymously.
It backfired, and Monday Kayla-Simone McKelvey, 25, pleaded guilty to creating a false alarm by tweeting anonymous death threats against fellow black students Nov. 17. She’s now facing jail and a large restitution fine.
As WND reported, McKelvey, Kean alumna and president of the Pan-African Student Union, slipped away from the rally and anonymously sent a threat to “shoot every black woman and male at Kean University.”
McKelvey entered the college library and used a computer there to quickly post the threat on Twitter, according to NJ.com.
In another message, she claimed there was a bomb on campus.
And in more messages, she declared, “The cops wont save you…. you’re black,” and “Black people at kean university will die.”
When she finished making the posts, McKelvey hurried back to the rally to spread the terrible news: Violent threats were being made against black Kean students.
McKelvey’s stunt caused the university to increase security and mobilized responses from several law-enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The following day, the university police announced the campus would remain open.
“We are profoundly troubled by this display of hatred which does not reflect in any way the values we hold sacred on our diverse campus,” police wrote in a Facebook post.
But despite the response to the threats, many students were so troubled they stayed in their rooms the following day and refused to go to class, one student told WNBC-TV.
There was even a call issued for President Dawood Farahi to resign because of the hostile environment on campus.
McKelvey and her attorney had hoped to have her sentenced to participate in a pretrial intervention program that would have avoided jail time, but that request was denied last week.
Following her guilty plea, state prosecutors reportedly will recommend McKelvey be sentenced to 90 days in jail and that she pay restitution of about $82,000 to cover the costs of the police response and heightened security at the university caused by her threats.
The $82,000 fine is the equivalent of three-and-a-half years of in-state tuition at the university.
McKelvey will be back in court for sentencing June 17.
The Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, founder and president of the civil rights nonprofit BOND, told WND he wasn’t surprised to hear of yet another alleged incident of racism against blacks that turned out to be a hoax.
“You’ve got to realize that for the last 60 years black people – not all but most – have used racism to intimidate white folks,” Peterson said. “They’ve gained so much material wealth from it, jobs, they’ve gotten into white universities based on color, not ability. And so they’ve gained a lot, and they can’t let this idea that racism exists go away.”
“Power and wealth – that’s all it’s about,” Peterson declared. “Taking it away from the whites and giving it to the blacks. White fear drives these blacks to commit these false accusations of racism. Racism has always been and it still is a fake illusion; it’s not there.”