The Latest: Interim diversity chief says job will take toll

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Posted: Nov 12, 2015 5:29 PM
The Latest: Interim diversity chief says job will take toll

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

4:30 p.m.

A black law professor and associate dean at the University of Missouri says he can see already that his new diversity role at the school will take a big physical and emotional toll on him.

Chuck Henson, who was appointed Tuesday as interim vice chancellor for inclusion, diversity and equity, became choked up Thursday during a teleconference with reporters as he described his experiences so far.

Henson says he is shocked by the number of people who want to prevent the community from having a good relationship, including three people who have been charged with making online threats to attack campuses.

He says his wife was troubled by a lengthy discussion she read online Tuesday after his appointment in which people talked about wanting to see him dead.

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3:15 p.m.

The University of Missouri has moved up the timetable to replace R. Bowen Loftin as chancellor of its flagship campus and has already installed his interim replacement.

The Board of Curators said Thursday that Hank Foley is now serving as interim chancellor of the Columbia campus. Both Loftin and University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe resigned Monday after weeks of racial unrest. Many students, faculty and staff accused administrators of failing to adequately address the problems.

Loftin said he would remain chancellor until the end of the year, when he would take on a new role at the university, but that timetable was moved up.

The board on Thursday also named a black senior administrator, Michael Middleton, to be interim president of the four-campus university system.

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2:50 p.m.

Prosecutors have charged a third Missouri man with posting online threats to attack a college campus.

Nineteen-year-old Tyler Bradenberg, of St. Louis, was charged Thursday with a felony count of making a terrorist threat. An arrest warrant has been issued for him.

Authorities say Brandenberg posted "I'm gonna shoot up this school" on the anonymous messaging app Yik Yak on Wednesday. It was apparently aimed at the Missouri University of Science & Technology in Rolla, where he studied chemical engineering for a semester last fall.

A Rolla detective says Brandenberg admitted he posted the threat. An S&T spokeswoman says technology was used to try to make it appear the post was made from the Rolla campus, but it wasn't.

The threats follow protests over the University of Missouri's handling of racial issues that helped force two top officials to resign.

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2:25 p.m.

A man accused of making online threats against black students and faculty at the University of Missouri's Columbia campus has made his first court appearance and was denied bond.

Nineteen-year-old Hunter M. Park said nothing during Thursday's court appearance by closed-circuit television from the Boone County jail.

Park is charged with making a terroristic threat.

Boone County Associate Judge Kimberly Shaw sided with a prosecutor in declining a request by Park's attorney to set bond at $10,000. Shaw ordered Park to remain jailed, pending a Nov. 18 court appearance.

Authorities say the threats showed up Tuesday on the anonymous location-based messaging app Yik Yak and other social media.

A university police officer says Park, when confronted early Wednesday in his Rolla college dorm room, admitted he wrote the postings.

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2:05 p.m.

The newly-appointed interim president of the University of Missouri System says he understands the frustration of faculty, staff, students and the community, and how the university moves forward will define it.

Michael Middleton was introduced Thursday after his appointment by the Board of Curators. He will lead the four-campus university system until a permanent replacement is found.

Middleton, who is black, retired as deputy chancellor of the Columbia campus in August. He replaces Tim Wolfe, who resigned Monday amid student-led protests over his administration's handling of racial complaints.

Middleton says everyone involved must confront difficult issues, but he has great optimism about the future.

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1:35 p.m.

The University of Missouri's governing board has appointed a recently retired black senior administrator from its flagship campus to be the university system's interim president.

The Board of Curators named 68-year-old Michael Middleton on Thursday to lead the four-campus university system until a permanent replacement is found.

Middleton takes over from Tim Wolfe, who resigned Monday amid student-led protests over his administration's handling of racial complaints. The Columbia campus' chancellor, R. Bowen Loftin, also announced Monday he would be leaving his position at year's end for a new role at the school.

Middleton retired as deputy chancellor of the Columbia campus in August and became a deputy chancellor emeritus. He has been working part-time to assist Loftin design a plan to increase inclusion and diversity on campus.

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1:20 p.m.

A 19-year-old Northwest Missouri State University student from Blue Springs has been charged with two counts of making a terrorist threat.

Nodaway County Prosecutor Robert Rice on Thursday filed one misdemeanor and one felony count against Connor Stottlemyre, a freshman at the school in Maryville.

Stottlemyre is accused of posting a threat on the Yik Yak social media app that read, "I'm gonna shoot any black people tomorrow, so be ready." He was arrested Wednesday in his dormitory.

University spokesman Mark Hornickel said Thursday it wasn't immediately clear whether Stottlemyre would face any school disciplinary action.

A 19-year-old student at the University of Missouri system's Rolla campus is accused of posting threats against black students and faculty on the Columbia campus. He is due to appear in court Thursday afternoon.

This item has been changed to correct the spelling of Connor Stottlemyre's last name, which was misspelled in one instance as "Stottlemeyer."

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10:20 a.m.

The University of Missouri's governing board is set to name a new interim president for the university system.

The board scheduled a 1:30 p.m. Thursday news conference to announce the person who will head the four-campus system.

The announcement comes three days after the university system's president, Tim Wolfe, and the Columbia campus' chancellor, R. Bowen Loftin, resigned under pressure following weeks of unrest over the administration's response to racial incidents.

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9:50 a.m.

University of Missouri police are investigating a report of vandalism at the Columbia campus' black culture center.

Police say someone spray-painted over a portion of a sign early Thursday at the center. Police were reviewing video surveillance from the area.

University Police Chief Doug Schwandt says the Missouri State Highway Patrol is assisting in the investigation.

Tensions remain high after weeks of racial unrest that led to the resignations on Monday of the university system president and the Columbia campus chancellor.

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9:15 a.m.

An investigator says a man accused of making online threats against black students and faculty at the University of Missouri's Columbia campus admits some of the postings mimicked those linked to a deadly shooting rampage in Oregon last month.

Boone County prosecutors have charged 19-year-old Hunter M. Park with making a terroristic threat. He will be arraigned later Thursday.

The threats showed up Tuesday on the anonymous location-based messaging app Yik Yak and other social media.

A university police officer wrote in a probable cause statement that Park admitted he wrote the postings when confronted early Wednesday in his Rolla college dorm room. He says Park told him he was quoting part of an online threat that appeared ahead of last month's Oregon college shooting involving a gunman who killed nine people and himself.

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8:55 a.m.

A 19-year-old man accused of making online threats against black students and faculty at the University of Missouri campus in Columbia is scheduled to make his first court appearance.

Boone County's chief sheriff's deputy, Maj. Tom Reddin, says Hunter M. Park of Lake St. Louis is scheduled to be arraigned about 1:30 p.m. Thursday, likely by closed-circuit video from the county jail where he is being held without bond. Park is charged with felony making a terroristic threat.

Park is a student at the University of Missouri Science and Technology in Rolla, where he was arrested early Wednesday in a dorm.

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

The threats followed 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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8:55 a.m.

Blogs and Internet reports have questioned whether one of the most disturbing racial incidents at the University of Missouri really happened, but a police report confirms that it did.

The incident took place Oct. 24, when a swastika, scrawled in feces, was found in a dorm bathroom. Several postings have questioned if that really happened.

It did, according to a report filed by a campus police officer who saw the swastika, along with feces on the floor of the restroom.

The university system's president and the Columbia campus chancellor announced their resignations Monday after racial unrest that included protests, a hunger strike and the football team's threatened boycott of its next game. Activists felt administrators had not done enough to address racial concerns.