Students, rally organizers react to McKelvey charges
By Nicole Brown | Published on Dec. 10, 2015
Many in the Kean community had mixed reactions when they learned via email on Dec. 1 that Kayla-Simone McKelvey, a May 2015 graduate, was charged in connection with making racially-charged threats on Twitter during a campus protest against racism.
McKelvey, 24, was one of several students who participated in the demonstration on Nov. 17, the Union County Prosecutor announced. She allegedly left the rally, created an anonymous Twitter account and posted a series of racially charged threats of violence from a computer lab in the Nancy ompson Library.
Kristal Noyan, president of the Pan- African Student Union (PASU) at Kean, was stunned. She said McKelvey is an assertive individual who went above and beyond to accomplish her dreams and aspirations when she served as president of PASU.
“I am shocked and saddened by the posts on Instagram,” said Noyan, referring to negative posts on social media about PASU after McKelvey was charged with a third degree count of creating a false public alarm. “It is easy for others to post comments about a suspect who has not been proven guilty.”
Noyan said on the night of the rally McKelvey was reading the posts aloud during the protest while the Tweets were being posted, and therefore, she didn’t think McKelvey could be guilty.
“McKelvey was the first person who alerted the police about the threat on Twitter and asked them to inquire who the person was,” Noyan said.
Noyan said that the allegations will not affect future activities of the Pan-African Student Union.
“PASU has been around for years and this will not destroy its credibility,” said Noyan. “Those who don’t know about PASU may question its credibility.”
Tanaera Green, who said she she was an organizer of the Nov. 17 rally, said she will be devastated if McKelvey is found guilty.
“I haven’t completely processed what is going on,” said Green. “I don’t want to believe she is accountable, but if she is, she should be held responsible.”
Some students decided to stay home after the Tweets were made and the university remained open. But some students, like Alaysha Daniels, did not pursue that option out of concern of being penalized.
“I was outraged that the campus was not closed,” said Daniels, an early education major. “I was forced to go to class or else it would a ect my attendance points.”
Carol Bernal, a junior, said she is upset by McKelvey’s alleged action, but is at ease that she no longer has to be fearful about coming to campus.
“She allegedly caused an unnecessary amount of chaos and fear among Kean students,” Bernal said “I hope she is reprimanded and learns from
Natasha McDowell, a communication major, hopes if she committed the crime she will be found guilty for stirring up the chaos.
“Why would she go as far as to cause all of this chaos at Kean University and then have the plan blow up in her face,”said McDowell.