Mississippi State students speak out after social media post about shooting black person

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – Several Mississippi State students were upset to learn that someone claiming to be from one of the school’s fraternities made a social media post about shooting an African American male.

“I don’t want to look back years from now and see my degree from Mississippi State and be like, ‘Yeah, that’s the school that had the Confederate General. That’s the school that had baby Klansmen on campus,'” says MSU senior Ken Thompson.

That is what Thompson says is behind his decision to potentially withdraw from school just two semesters away from graduation over the social media post he found between late Thursday and early Friday.

“The post was talking about shooting black people simply for walking,” he says. “So I let the necessary officials know that this was going on and they told me they were going to investigate.”

The post was made on the platform YikYak, and featured comments about posing with guns and shooting at a black person.

“Just awful in general,” says MSU sophomore Lauren Hardy. “I don’t get how people say stuff like that.”

“Y’all are taking pictures with guns or whatever and if you see a black guy, what’re you going to do, shoot him?” says MSU senior Desiree Driver. “That’s crazy and it’s not funny. At all.”

YikYak was relaunched in 2021, four years after it was shut down amid concerns over hate speech and cyberbullying.

“It’s unbelievable, honestly,” says Hardy. “It’s anonymous, so people just think they can say whatever they want on there, really.”

In a statement to WCBI, the school said its Office of Civil Rights Compliance has investigated and will continue to work to educate the MSU community on the harm sites like these create.

Thompson had a simple, concise response to the statement.

“That’s cute,” he says.

YikYak is an anonymous posting site where anyone can claim to be anyone. However, according to its privacy policy, any post may be traced back to the phone number attached to the user’s account.

“It’s extremely easy to ping an IP address if necessary,” Thompson says. “I made the deans aware on Friday that if I needed to file a police report in order to force YikYak to release the IP address that particular post came from, then I would definitely be willing to do that.”

Driver says she would also like to see an investigation into whether or not the fraternity was involved.

“Even if it wasn’t a member of their fraternity, why does that person feel so comfortable saying something like that and associating (themselves) with that fraternity?” she says.

Both Driver and Thompson say they would like the school to take action to reassure them of their safety.

“Black students already are afraid to come to this school because it’s so southern,” Driver says.

WCBI reached out to Mississippi State, but school officials said they will not be commenting further at this time.

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