Woman charged with faking threats vs. fellow black students

UNION, N.J. (AP) — A former Kean University student was charged Tuesday with making fake threats against fellow black students at the New Jersey school, which increased racial tensions and led to heightened security.

Kayla-Simone McKelvey, of Union Township, faces one count of creating a false public alarm, which carries a maximum three- to five-year sentence.

McKelvey, 24, participated in a Nov. 17 rally on racial issues at Kean and then went to a campus library computer and posted anonymous threats on Twitter against black students, the Union County prosecutor's office said. Investigators said McKelvey then returned to the rally and tried to raise awareness about the threats. The rally came in the wake of racial unrest at the University of Missouri and other college campuses.

It wasn't immediately known Tuesday if McKelvey had retained an attorney who could comment on the accusations, and she didn't reply to an email from The Associated Press.

Security was increased at Kean after the threats were discovered, though classes weren't affected. But the threats did lead a group of black ministers to call for Kean President Dawood Farahi to resign the following day, saying that the threats showed that he hadn't done enough to address alleged racial tension on campus. The school responded that the claims of racial tension were baseless.

Farahi said in a statement posted on the school's Twitter account Tuesday that the school was "saddened to learn that the person allegedly responsible was an active participant in the rally that took place on campus ... and is a former student of Kean."

"No cause or issue gives anyone the right to threaten the safety of others," Farahi said. "We hope this information will begin to bring a sense of relief and security to the campus community."

Kean is one of the most racially diverse campuses in New Jersey. Last year's freshman class was 31 percent white, 30 percent Hispanic, 20 percent black, 5 percent Asian and 14 percent unknown or other, according to state data.

McKelvey is scheduled to make a court appearance in two weeks.


This story has been corrected to remove attribution to authorities saying the posts were made to raise awareness about racism; authorities did not specifically say what the motive was.