A South Carolina man was arrested Thursday after threatening to kill Black students involved in ongoing protests at Clemson University.
Clemson student Jamie Reese Moore, 21, was arrested and charged with unlawful use of a telephone after posting threatening and racist messages on the social media app Yik Yak. According to the Associated Press, Moore posted the comments while protests were underway on the steps of Sikes Hall, an administrative building on Clemson’s campus.
“What time is the lynch mob tomorrow?,” he wrote. “I got a couple hundred feet of rope.”
He posted more messages, inciting other students to perform a drive-by at Sikes Hall and even asked if the protesters had been lynched yet.
“Slave auction tomorrow morning at 8am @ Sikes Hall,” Moore continued. “Lots of good protest workers. Get them while they’re mad!!!”
Moore was later released on $470 bond and the incident has been referred to Clemson University’s Office of Community and Ethical Standards for possible disciplinary action, according to WBTW News.
African-American students at the university began to protest after a banner commemorating Black history was defaced with a rotten bunch of bananas. Per the Associated Press, the sit-in started Wednesday, April 13 with a march from Fort Hill — a plantation built by former enslaved Africans that would later become the nucleus of Clemson’s campus — to protest the incident with the bananas.
“Clemson University tries to hide things and pretend like they never, ever happened or don’t exist,” said Rae-Nessha White, a junior political science major from Charleston who was arrested during the protest. “So instead of saying it was bananas on an African-American flag, they say a banner was defaced on campus. You are denying the fact it was racist at all.”
Students are pushing for university officials to address the diversity issues on campus, as only 6 percent of Clemson’s student population is Black. Its African-American enrollment also lags behind those of other major universities in the South, an Associated Press article reports.
Jim Clements, president of Clemson University, says he’s aware of the diversity problem and is making an effort to correct it. He ended the protests over the weekend and met with student organizers and school administrators Monday.
“The conversation was thoughtful, honest and candid and I believe that progress was made,” he said in a campus-wide e-mail sent Tuesday.
The recent situation with Moore only adds to a string of racial incidents on the campus of South Carolina’s second-largest university. The Associated Press reports that a “Crip’mas” party was thrown by a fraternity, in which white members dressed up like stereotypical members of a 1980s-era gang. A Confederate flag was also raised in front of Tillman Hall, a campus building whose namesake, Gov. Ben Tillman, helped organize a white mob that killed Black Republicans in 1876 as part of voter intimidation.
“We go through classes, we see each other on a daily basis, we exchange smiles thinking we are all treating one another as equals. But to see the post on Yik Yak talking about lynchings — to me it is just ignorant,” said Brendan Standifer, a Black student who attends Clemson.
Standifer has witnessed other racial incidents at the school and says a “racial schism” runs through the campus.
“The only time you see true unity is on game day,” he said.