The Latest: Missouri leaders reveal nothing after meeting

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Posted: Nov 11, 2015 8:37 PM
The Latest: Missouri leaders reveal nothing after meeting

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — The latest on the protests and turmoil over racially charged incidents at the University of Missouri (all times local):

7:30 p.m.

The University of Missouri system's governing board has met for three hours in closed session with no announcement.

The Board of Curators held an emergency session Wednesday evening amid racial tensions on the Columbia campus. The tensions have fueled protests that led two top administrators to resign earlier this week.

Board member John Phillips emerged after Wednesday's three-hour meeting and said, "Nothing to share tonight. There may be something tomorrow afternoon."

Phillips was the only board member present on campus. He met with the other members by phone.

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5:40 p.m.

A white college student has been charged with posting online threats to shoot black students and faculty at the University of Missouri's flagship campus in Columbia.

Hunter M. Park was charged Wednesday in Boone County Circuit Court with making a terrorist threat. He's jailed in Columbia. Prosecutors have requested no bond. Park is a 19-year-old sophomore studying computer science at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla.

The prosecutor's office said in a written statement that it "takes very seriously all cases involving violence or threats of violence." The statement said the office would make no further comment.

The prosecutor's office didn't immediately respond to an email asking whether Park had an attorney. No information about the case is listed online. The probable cause statement wasn't immediately released.

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4:50 p.m.

Authorities are investigating a threatened shooting at the University of Missouri campus in Rolla where one of its students was arrested earlier Wednesday for allegedly posting separate online threats to shoot black students at the university's sister campus in Columbia .

A statement by Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla says police there fielded a report shortly after noon Wednesday that someone posted on anonymous location-based messaging app YikYak that, "I'm gonna shoot up this school."

The threat came the same day a sophomore there, 19-year-old Hunter Park, was arrested on suspicion of anonymously warning online that he planned to shoot blacks at the system's Columbia campus, 75 miles from Rolla.

Racial tensions on the Columbia campus have fueled protests that led two top administrators to resign earlier this week.

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4:35 p.m.

A woman who was among University of Missouri employees whose videotaped clash with a student photographer during protests on the campus helped fan debate about free press is on administrative leave.

The Columbia campus' director of student life, Mark Lucas, says in a statement that Janna Basler was placed on leave Wednesday and that the department is investigating her actions.

He says Basler is the school's director of Greek life.

Basler and assistant professor Melissa Click of the school's communications department drew criticism for trying to stop a freelance student photographer from taking pictures of protesters celebrating the university system president's resignation announcement on Monday. The incident was captured on video and posted online.

Click apologized Tuesday.

Basler didn't return a message Wednesday seeking comment.

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2 p.m.

A University of Missouri professor who challenged his students to show up for class despite fears over racially-motivated threats of violence or risk missing an exam says he has offered his resignation.

Dale Brigham told The Associated Press by email Wednesday that he ultimately backtracked and told students they could take the exam on a later date. His initial email to his Nutritional Science 1034 class urging them to "not give in to bullies" and warning that the test would be administered Wednesday whether students showed up or not sparked an angry response.

Brigham says he has offered his resignation, although university spokesman Christian Basi said he didn't know yet whether the school had accepted the resignation.

A student at another campus is accused of having made the online threats.

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1:50 p.m.

Free speech advocates are expressing concern that instructions from University of Missouri police on how students should report "hateful and/or hurtful" speech could stifle legitimate differences of opinion.

A campus email sent Tuesday instructs recipients to call university police as soon as possible and notes that while such speech isn't always illegal, students can nonetheless be punished by the Office of Student Conduct.

The university's student conduct code prohibits harassment, which it defines as "unwelcome verbal or physical conduct" against "actual or perceived membership in a protected class ... that creates a hostile environment." The conduct code also forbids bullying, retaliation and threatening or intimidating behaviors.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri responded with a statement calling for the university to not compromise the right to free expression in its efforts to fight racism. Its statement says, "Mistakenly addressing symptoms - instead of causes - and doing it in a way that runs counter to the First Amendment is not the wise or appropriate response."

A University of Missouri police official referred questions about the email to the university's media relations office, which did not immediately respond.

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1:30 p.m.

A man accused of posting online threats aimed at black University of Missouri students and faculty won't appear in court until Thursday at the earliest because county offices are closed for Veterans Day.

Hunter M. Park was arrested early Wednesday in Rolla, where he is a student at Missouri University of Science and Technology. He was jailed in Columbia on a preliminary charge of suspicion of making a terrorist threat. He hasn't been formally charged.

Authorities say Park posted on YikYak and other social media sites threats to "shoot every black person" he sees on the university's flagship campus in Columbia. A black student group organized protests there that helped force the resignations Monday of the university system president and the chancellor of the Columbia campus.

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10:25 a.m.

The 19-year-old man arrested for allegedly making online threats against black students and faculty at the University of Missouri's Columbia campus is a student at one of its other campuses.

Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla confirmed that 19-year-old Hunter M. Park is a student there. He was arrested Wednesday at a residence hall on the Rolla campus. The school says no weapons were found.

Park was taken by University of Missouri police to Columbia, where he is jailed. Formal charges haven't been filed.

The online posts on YikYak and other social media Tuesday threatened to "shoot every black person I see."

The threats follow the resignations Monday of the university system's president and the Columbia campus' chancellor after student protests over their handling of racial issues.

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10:15 a.m.

There are noticeably fewer people walking around the University of Missouri's Columbia campus despite the early-morning arrest of a man suspected of posting online threats against black students and faculty.

The campus green where crowds protested against the administration's handling of racial issues was devoid of students Wednesday morning.

Freshman communication sciences and disorders major Megan Grazman said she was heading to class and felt safe, but that it was clear many students weren't. She said, "There's nobody out. It's a ghost town."

Sean Ficken, who has one black parent and one white one, said he's not worried but is being more vigilant than usual.

University police arrested a 19-year-old man early Wednesday suspected of posting anonymous threats online about shooting black people.

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9 a.m.

University of Missouri police say the suspect accused of making online threats against black students and faculty is 19-year-old Hunter M. Park.

Park was arrested at 1:50 a.m. Wednesday by university police in Rolla, Missouri, and taken to Columbia, where he is jailed on $4,500 bond. Charges have not been filed. He is not a student at the Columbia campus.

Rolla is about 94 miles south of Columbia.

Police declined to release a photo of the suspect, citing concerns for his safety.

The online posts on YikYak and other social media Tuesday threatened to "shoot every black person I see."

Campus police Major Brian Weimer says additional officers are posted on campus to ensure security.

The threats follow the resignations Monday of the university system's president and the Columbia campus' chancellor after student protests over the university's handling of complaints about racism.

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6:55 a.m.

University of Missouri Police say the department has arrested a suspect accused of making online threats against black students and faculty.

A post early Wednesday on the university's emergency alert website says the suspect is in university police custody and was not on or near the university campus when the threats were made. A dispatcher at the university's police department says more information will be released later Wednesday.

The online posts discovered on YikYak and other social media Tuesday threatened to "shoot every black person I see."

Campus police Capt. Brian Weimer says additional officers are posted on campus to ensure security.

The threats follow the resignations Monday of the university system's president and the Columbia campus' chancellor after student protests over the university's handling of complaints about racism.