JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - In response to a controversial photo posted online showing a former KKK Grand Dragon posing with an assault rifle, The University of North Florida (UNF) is beefing up its security on campus.
First Coast News spoke with that student, Ken Parker, 37, who was suspended by UNF for posting the photo.
"If I was trying to be threatening, I would have taken a firearm on campus," Parker said.
Parker, an 11-year Navy veteran, said he was trying to defend himself on Facebook after he got into a heated discussion over a photo showing the flyer "It's okay to be white" inside the UNF Spinnaker vending machine.
"I posted a picture of me with a firearm from right here, off campus and I don't understand why any student would take that as a threat," he said.
In response to the photo, the Vice President of Student and International Affairs responded in a letter:
"[Parker] represent[s] an immediate threat to the safety, health and well-being of the University of North Florida community... He needs ot be completely removed from the university campus and expelled. As long as the university condones this behavior, it's not safe for any marginalized students to be on here."
A UNF student spoke to First Coast News about the photo and asked to remain anonymous. She said she and others have been threatened by Parker more than once.
"He's threatened a lot of people I know personally in person and on social media," she said. "Death threats and violent threats to assault people because a he's dangerous person and does not need to be on a university campus."
UNF President John Delaney also responded to the incident on Facebook:
Parker said he plans on appealing his suspension.
"I didn't have any intent of sending anybody a message of fear," he said.
The appeal hearing is set for Monday. Stay with First Coast News as this story develops.