The Colorado-Boulder student accused of making threatening remarks during a classroom discussion about the Virginia Tech shootings has been ordered to stay off campus.
Max Karson, a psychology major, was arrested Tuesday after a classroom discussion in which he allegedly said he could understand why someone could be angry enough to kill 32 people. Police say students were afraid to be in class with Karson.
Karson had attended CSU for a semester before moving out of Colorado for two years and eventually enrolling at CU. He wrote two articles for the Collegian.
Karson is accused of interference with staff, faculty or students of an educational institution, a misdemeanor.
“He said things like the walls and the lights were making him angry enough that he could kill people,” Cmdr. Brad Wiesley of the CU Police Department told the Collegian on Wednesday. “Many of the students in that class felt personally threatened and were afraid to go back to class.”
Karson, who was released on bail Wednesday, could not be reached for comment on Thursday.
Bronson Hilliard, a CSU spokesman, said Karson was arrested after multiple students from the class – a women’s studies and African-American literature course – felt threatened.
The university issued a “summary suspension,” meaning he isn’t allowed on the CU campus unless he’s meeting with judicial affairs or law enforcement officials.
It’s unclear how long he’ll be suspended, and summary suspensions vary in length, Hilliard said.
The former CSU student is the editor of The Yeti, a small newsletter he distributes by hand to the CU student center. In it, he writes satirically about everything from relationships to politics.
Friends of Karson – and those who knew of him only through his writing – expressed support for the writer and said police overreacted.
“Knowing what he’s like and reading his newsletter, it’s pretty ridiculous he got arrested,” said Tanner Ringerud, a senior film studies major who started a “Free Max Karson” Facebook group.
Ringerud doesn’t know Karson personally, but has read every issue of The Yeti.
“They’re filthy and they’re inappropriate, but they’re kind of hilarious,” he said. “He loves getting a rise out of people.I don’t think he intended to scare anyone.”
Karson attended CSU in spring 2004 and lived in Parmalee Hall, where he distributed his newsletter, The Snowball.
Wiesley said the CU police department is still interviewing students from the class, and that he’s confident in defending the arrest.
“If we didn’t think it was reasonable, we wouldn’t have done it,” he said. “He’s innocent until proven guilty.It’s up to the judge and jury to decide what the end result is.”
Managing Editor Vimal Patel can be reached at email@example.com.