A Black woman who attended Kean University in Union, New Jersey is facing jail time after she confessed to sending fake threats on Twitter aimed at fellow Black students.
Kayla McKelvey, 25, was sentenced to 90 days behind bars Friday for “creating a public false alarm,” the Associated Press reports. She pleaded guilty to the crime back in April and hoped to enter a pre-trial intervention program that would spare her jail time. Unfortunately, Judge Robert Mega denied McKelvey’s motion days before her guilty plea.
Per the Associated Press, McKelvey will also be required to serve 5 years’ probation, complete 100 hours of labor assistance with the county sheriff’s department, and undergo anger management and counseling.
The Kean University alumna and former president of the Pan African Student Union has since apologized for the tweets, claiming her messages were only meant to raise awareness about racial tensions on campus. In court, McKelvey recalled hearing white students shout things like “white power” and even refer to African-American students as monkeys, RT reports.
In an attempt to get more students to come to a November 2015 rally on racial issues, which she herself had attended, McKelvey used a Kean Unversity library computer to post a series of threatening tweets aimed at African-American students at the rally.
“I will kill all the blacks tonight, tomorrow and any other day if they go to Kean University,” read one of her tweets addressed to the campus police.
McKelvey later returned to the rally to warn students about the online “threats,” AP reports.
According to prosecutor Shawn Barnes, nearly 75 percent of university students didn’t attend class for multiple days following the threatening tweets. The news site reports that several law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, were called in for heightened security in and around the campus.
The police response and extra security cost the school approximately $82,000, which McKelvey will be required to pay back.
According to AP, the fake threats also sparked action from local Black ministers who called for the removal of Kean University president Dawood Farahi for his failure to address racial issues on campus. Farahi ultimately kept his position.
An internal investigation conducted last month found no discriminatory policies or practices at the New Jersey university, the news site states. The report concluded the school’s policies are “comprehensive and equitable” and that roughly a fifth of students at Kean University are African-American; 30 percent of its employees are Black as well.