Kean grad accused of Twitter threats denied probation


Kayla-Simone McKelvey, a Kean graduate, speaks at a protest in March 2015. She would later face charges for allegedly making online threats against students at a rally in November of last year. (Credit: Rebecca Panico)

By Rebecca Panico | Published March 7, 2016

Kayla Simone McKelvey, the Kean alum accused of making threats against black students on campus via Twitter in November, was denied entry into a probation program, according to NJ Advance Media.

Instead, Union County Assistant Prosecutor Shawn Barnes recommended a plea bargain, which would result in a six-month jail term in exchange for a guilty plea, according to the news report.

Barnes stated McKelvey would have to pay restitution for the effects of the threats but did not specify how much that would cost, the report added.

McKelvey pled not guilty to a third degree count of creating a false public alarm and then applied for the Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) Program, which would result in an expunged record, at a hearing on Jan. 28.

Although a person does not have to plead guilty to get PTI, sometimes a prosecutor can make it a condition, explained Union County Superior Court’s press liaison Sandra Thaler Gerber.

In this case, the prosecutor rejected her application entirely.

McKelvey’s lawyer, Thomas Ashley, told NJAM he will continue to pursue his client’s admittance into the probation program by filing an affidavit with the judge.

In February, Ashley told The Tower that McKelvey was, “very apologetic about what happened.”

McKelvey was accused of leaving a November protest on campus that raised awareness about racial and social issues to use a library computer to make threats against black students. She allegedly came back to the protest to spread word of the threats.

McKelvey was involved in another protest last March, where she alleged that Student Organization denied funding for trips during Black History Month, and that a Kean professor made racially-charged comments during class. School officials found little to no evidence supporting her claims.

Former Student Org. President Gerard Smithwrick publicly denounced McKevley’s charges in December on social media. He told The Tower that despite denouncing his office while he was president, the two remained friends.

“KAYLA MCKELVEY IS INNOCENT,” Smithwrick wrote in all caps on his Facebook page. “That is my sister, not by blood but in by heart, and I know her very very well. She has been ‘accused’ but there is no specific proof which directly links her to this crime, and of all people, she would NEVER do anything like this.”

Meanwhile, the current Graduate Part-time Student Council President Chazz Fellenz said McKelvey should “get what comes to” her on his Facebook page.

“I for one am not the least bit upset with judge,” he wrote on March 2. “When you try to create a racist situation that never existed you get what comes to you. Does racism exist? Yes. Do we have a racist university. Hell no.”

McKelvey’s next court hearing is scheduled for March 23.

Rebecca Panico may be reached at Follow The Tower on Twitter@KeanTower. Find The Tower on Facebook.

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  • It’s amazing that this young lady finds herself in this predicament alone, there is no coalition, no members of the Clergy, none of those that motivated an animated this young Lady to make such a bad judgement call were there to speak on her behalf. Figures, because the truth of the matter is this was never about the Students at Lean but about an agenda self proclaimed coalition leader Rev. Slaughter has and the money he is receiving from the Unions and Lobyist behind him. Those at Lean dont need your help, be like you are at this young ladies court process, ghost because when you are around it brings only confusion and division.