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Student and former KKK member suspended after posting photo with a gun

Tiffany Salameh and Pierce Turner

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The image that sparked a statement from Delaney about campus safety. Photo from Facebook

After posting a photo of himself to Spinnaker’s Facebook page holding an AR-15, Ken Parker, former Grand Dragon of The KKK and current member of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement, is suspended from the University of North Florida, effective immediately.

Parker shared the letter he received from the Office of Student Affairs with Spinnaker. According to a source familiar with firearms, Parker was holding an AR-15, which is not the same as an assault rifle. The former is defined by the ATF as a modern sporting gun whereas an assault rifle is classified as a rifle capable of “burst” and “automatic fire.” 

“Your posts were viewed as threatening and although your post of your picture holding the apparent weapon was removed, your actions have caused concern and fear to a number of students and faculty resulting in significant disruption to the University’s operations,” the letter reads.

The suspension means Parker, a Junior political science major, can’t attend his classes or participate in any university activities.

Parker told Spinnaker he posted the picture to prove he is capable of self defense, saying he has a black belt, and not to threaten.

“Me sharing a picture of me with a firearm from the privacy of my own home was not implying a threat whatsoever,” Parker said.  

Spinnaker received tips from UNF students that at least two classes on campus were cancelled because of the pictures posted by Parker.

The photo in question was posted in response to another student and showed Parker, a Junior studying political science at UNF, holding a gun with two swastikas tattooed on his chest. Parker said he is also the former Grand Dragon of the KKK and a current member of the National Socialist party, a neo-nazi party.

The photo has been removed from the comment section. The comment above the photo read:

Zack Morse, it is okay to be WHITE!!!!! Let SDS and the other clowns come at me, I will shut them down. F*** the BLM BS!!! I am WHITE and PROUD, and these queer balls have yet to confront me on campus.

Zach Morse is the student who posted the controversial video to Snapchat mocking students who attended a Black Lives Matter rally that took place on UNF’s campus.

Parker said his comment was in support of signs recently posted around campus saying, “It’s okay to be white.” He said he didn’t post the signs himself.

Following the suspension, President Delaney sent out a message addressing the concern.

“In an abundance of caution, the University Police Department will have officers in uniform visible on campus, along with undercover officers in plain clothes,” Delaney wrote in the message. “This is not a reason to be alarmed: this is the UPD being proactive.”

Delaney ended his message saying “no one should confuse the acts of a small handful of students with all that UNF is. We embrace diversity.”

Parker requested an appeal for the suspension with a hearing set for Monday. He will require a police escort to come to campus.

 

Delaney’s Full Statement:

Message from the President

From the desk of President John Delaney:

I wanted to follow up on a message I sent to the campus community earlier today, about a flurry of social media posts which included a threatening message and a disturbing image. While Federal law (FERPA) normally prohibits me from discussing details, the student in question has self-identified to a news organization. This gives me the opportunity to share the facts that the student has released to the media. 

The student calls himself a white supremacist, is a former member of the KKK, but is now a member of another white supremacist group. He posted a photo of himself with a gun in the context of confronting members of a student group, the Students for a Democratic Society, which is linked to the Black Lives Matter movement.  The photo was taken off campus. The thread of his posts also included a threatening message. These actions led to his immediate suspension. In addition, he has been barred from campus, pending a conduct hearing next week. He can only come on campus when escorted by a police officer.   

There have been a swarm of rumors surrounding this incident. As I said earlier today, rumors about a gun being displayed on campus are not true, and we did not order a lockdown of a building. 

In an abundance of caution, the University Police Department will have officers in uniform visible on campus, along with undercover officers in plain clothes. This is not a reason to be alarmed: this is the UPD being proactive. 

There is no need for classes to be canceled as I feel confident there is no threat to the campus. 

I understand this is a sensitive matter that has put some on edge. But we have always been a caring, supportive community and our strengths outweigh this incident. Further, no one should confuse the acts of a small handful of students with all that UNF is. We embrace diversity.

As I have said in the past, if you see something or hear something of concern, contact the UPD at (904) 620-2800. There are also many support groups on campus ready to help.

 

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For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

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Student and former KKK member suspended after posting photo with a gun