Monday, November 16, 2015 by Greg White
Payton Head, the University of Missouri’s student body president, posted on Facebook that the KKK had invaded the campus, advising black students to stay indoors and away from windows. In actuality, rumors that the KKK was roaming around the campus were a product of a mass delusion, found nowhere but in the minds of hysterical students.
On Tuesday night, Twitter spewed a flurry of tweets by students and others who claimed the KKK had been spotted lurking around the MU’s flagship Columbia campus. These rumors escalated after MU’s student body president, Payton Head, made a Facebook post alerting the student body of the threat, stating he was working with the police department and National Guard on the matter.
“Students please take precaution,” he warned in a Facebook post. “Stay away from the windows in residence halls. The KKK has been confirmed to be sighted on campus. I’m working with the MUPD, the state trooper and the National Guard.”
Although there have been some genuine instances of racism in the campus, the situation at Mizzou appears to be exhibiting symptoms of a mass mental breakdown. Following Head’s comment, dozens of tweets bombarded Twitter, some of which claimed Klansmen were throwing bricks into dorm windows. Some tweets even claimed the police were protecting the KKK.
@amoree_harkness KKK on campus throwing bricks into dorm windows, white students threatening to kill all minorities — Erin (@ErinCeaser) November 11, 2015
Kkk on Missouri campus chanting “white power” & the college professors or college staff dont see it as a “threat” …. Amerikkka folks . — On Tha Dead Homies.. (@Ronteeeezy) November 11, 2015
Mizzou is a war zone right now. Rumors of KKK in and around campus. BE SMART — Aaron K. Ladd (@aaronladd0) November 11, 2015
Imagine sitting in your dorm room and seeing the KKK outside throwing bricks being protected and escorted by the police . — ABG (@sMoOvE___) November 11, 2015
In actuality, there was no evidence that the KKK was on campus. The entire incident was a product of mass hysteria. Less than an hour after the initial tweet which sparked the mayhem was posted, the police clarified the KKK had never been spotted inside the campus.
“We have found no evidence of anything related to the KKK on campus,” police spokesman Brian Weimar said in a statement. Even stranger, although Head claimed to be working with the National Guard, Weimar stated the Guard had not been summoned by the campus.
School officials tried to ease the panic in a series of statements, urging students to not spread rumors and that there was no actual threat on campus.
Afterwards, Head deleted his initial comment from social media and made an apology for spreading the rumors.
“I’m sorry about the misinformation that I have shared through social media,” Head said. “In a state of alarm, I was concerned for all students of the University of Missouri and wanted to ensure that everyone was safe. I received and shared information from multiple incorrect sources, which I deeply regret.”
No one is sure who triggered the original rumor. It may have been started by anonymous threats, which were being disseminated on the online anonymous discussion app Yik Yak. The MU police said Wednesday morning that they had arrested a student at a separate MU campus for making dangerous threats.
The whole incident drools with stupidity. While the KKK is still alive and active, it is now an incredibly weak organization. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the KKK has a mere five to eight thousand members and is no longer unified as a group. Mizzou students weren’t victims of racism that night, but of delusional paranoia.