A Chinese student has been expelled from the University of Iowa after making an unwise post on Weibo referencing gunman Gang Lu, who shot and killed 4 people on campus before committing suicide in 1991.
Ni Hanxiang, 22, posted the incriminating comments to his Weibo account on February 1st, and was expelled the next day. Although the original post has since been deleted, fellow student Mason Clarke offered a translation, via Iowa newspaper The Gazette:
“I’ve been working so hard this semester, if the school still doesn’t let me pass, I will let the professor feel the fear like Lu Gang.”
The remarks apparently earned Ni a prompt expulsion of his student visa and a ticket to Shanghai on February 4.
According to The Daily Iowan, Ni claims the expulsion was unwarranted as he intended no threat. In a follow-up post on Weibo he explained:
In fact I didn’t even know exactly what that [Gang Lu] was about. The point is, the post was in Chinese, because I didn’t hope there would be misunderstanding. And I thought the “normal people” should have known that my point was just trying to tell people I study very hard.
After the supposed threat was reported, the university’s threat assessment team “investigated, evaluated the risk, determined there was no imminent risk, and took the necessary precautions to ensure the campus community was safe,” said spokeswoman Jeneane Beck.
Beck also claimed that the Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act prohibited the university from disclosing information on his expulsion.
Ni’s post was deemed threatening in light of pictures he posted last month, of firearms that he recently obtained.
Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek said that the firearms were legally obtained with permits despite Ni not being a US resident:
A case like this is something of an exception. It’s sort of a strange quirk in the law, there are several quirks like this that allow people to get permits.
There’s what I call a quirk in the law that allows an international student to get a permit by getting a … hunting license and having a valid student visa. As long as they meet all of the other requirements, of course then they are eligible for a permit to carry or a permit to acquire.
As part of the checks, we do contact the university and let them know that somebody is applying for a permit.
Ni reportedly obtained a permit to acquire on January 7th, followed by a permit to carry on the 22nd, both of which were cancelled after the incident.
The university’s response to Ni was undertaken without notifying the campus at large, a fact that Clarke protested: “I definitely think the university should put out a notification of this when it happens. I think that these things should not go under the radar, and people should be made aware.”
In November 1991, University of Iowa physics student Gang Lu, 28, shot and killed 4 people, paralyzing another, before committing suicide. Purportedly, he snapped after being snubbed of an academic award.
Ni, originally from Hangzhou, was a pre-business major and studied at the university during 2013-2014 and the spring of 2016.
In January, a 19-year-old Chinese exchange student in Arizona was gunned down inside her car at an intersection after a minor fender-bender. Following the incident, numerous Chinese students in the US said they were thinking about buying a gun to protect themselves.
[Images via Weibo]