UNF student suspended after racist posts, police presence on campus to be increased

By: Michael Yoshida , Action News Jax

Updated:

The University of North Florida plans to have armed police visible on campus Wednesday and undercover officers, too, in response to a threatening post on social media.

That post included a picture of a student holding a gun while threatening a student group linked to the Black Lives Matter movement. Action News Jax spoke with that student, who describes himself as a Nazi.

“I’m Ken Parker, I’m a Nazi,” suspended UNF student Ken Parker said.

Parker posted the photo and message Monday night. In it, Parker can be seen holding a rifle. He also posted a message that says in part, “Let SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) and the other clowns come at me, I will shut them down.”


RELATED: Video apparently mocking students 'in a racist way' under investigation | UNF students demand action after Snapchat video allegedly mocked Black Lives Matter rally


Action News Jax reporter Michael Yoshida: “Did you see anything wrong with that?”

Parker: “No. I’m exercising my First and Second Amendment rights at the same time. So why would anybody be offended by that?”

Yoshida: “Did you intend any threat?”

Parker: “No. No.”

UNF disagreed and sent Parker a letter Tuesday afternoon saying in part, “Your posts were viewed as threatening … . Your actions have caused concern and fear … . You are hereby suspended.” 

“A picture of somebody with a gun is legal. It’s the overall context that we have to take a look at. We were disturbed by what we saw. And felt that we needed to take action today and that’s what we’ve done,” UNF President John Delaney said.

CLICK HERE TO READ DELANEY'S LETTERS TO UNF STUDENTS

Action News Jax also spoke with UNF students about the post.

“I heard about it and then I saw the president sent an email. Sort of sad that somebody would react that way to anything,” Cap Mewborne said.

“I mean whether or not it’s hateful or aggressive … it’s still freedom of speech,” Nick Harding said.

Parker said he's appealed the suspension.

"I’ve already appealed and now I have to get a police escort to go to campus for that appeal," Parker said.

Parker says if he loses that appeal, he plans to sue.

On Tuesday night, Action News Jax also spoke by phone with a member of the group mentioned in the post, Students for a Democratic Society, which has been linked to the Black Lives Matter movement

"Any time you see a Nazi threatening members of an organization … you’re going to automatically take that as a threat,” an SDS member said.

Parker’s post isn’t the first incident that some say has raised racial tensions on the UNF campus.

In October, we told you about a racist Snapchat video people said was mocking students at a Black Lives Matter rally and subsequent protests.

This week, signs saying “It’s OK to be white” have also popped up on campus, something that's been seen on other college campus across the country. 

“As they stand, under free speech they’re fine as they stand and it certainly will provoke some comments,” Delaney said.

“It still doesn’t defeat the fact that we need more diversity programs on campus,” an SDS member said.

The SDS member said they’d like to see more programs on campus about diversity and inclusion.

They’d also like to see changes in the curriculum to add courses and majors on African-American studies and race relations. 

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