College in New England closes after threats made following professor's social media posts
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A private college in Connecticut closed its campus Wednesday due to threats made against it after a professor's social media posts that he claims were twisted to sound as though they referred to last week's congressional shooting in Virginia.
Trinity College said it received threats related to social media posts by Johnny Eric Williams. The campus of the liberal arts school in Hartford is closed until further notice.
Trinity President Joanne Berger-Sweeney said in a statement Wednesday that the sociology professor shared a piece on his social media accounts this week that concluded with a call to show indifference to the lives of bigots. Williams also used a hashtag that connected directly to the conclusion of the article, Berger-Sweeney said.
She said his use of the hashtag was reprehensible and a dean is looking into whether college policies were broken.
Williams said in two posts made on Facebook on Sunday that he was fed up "with self-identified 'white's' daily violence" against oppressed groups, The Hartford Courant reported.
The posts called for an end to white supremacy and the "destructive mythology of whiteness"
Williams told the newspaper the posts were made in reaction to a fatal police shooting in Seattle.
The comments prompted House Republican Leader Themis Klarides and state Sen. George Logan to send a letter dated Wednesday to Berger-Sweeney calling for Trinity to "immediately, and permanently" remove Williams from the school's faculty.
Williams told The Courant his words were twisted by some people in the media to sound as though he was saying the victims of the Alexandria, Virginia, shooting should've been left to die.
"They are thinking I'm talking about a Congressman," Williams said. "That's not at all the case."
Williams said the campus was closed because of a bomb threat that was made in reaction to what he says is the media's misinterpretation of his Facebook posts.
Hartford police said detectives are assisting Trinity with an investigation into the "non-specific, non-credible" threats.