Faith-based Website: Kent State Twitter Threat Highlights Need for Non-Profits’ Outreach in the Twitter-sphere

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Followme.org: Twitter and social media sites provide new opportunities and challenges for churches and non-profit organizations.

Churches and non-profits need to engage the Twitter-sphere and social media, says faith-based website, followme.org.

That statement came today in response to the startling story of an Ohio college student arrested over the weekend for threatening to “shoot up” the university he attended and its officials.

According to court documents, William Koberna, a 19-year-old sophomore at Kent State University, issued a Twitter post last week that alarmed a university employee, who then immediately notified university police.

Kent State university spokesperson, Eric Mansfield, described Koberna’s Twitter post, in a statement made to Cleveland's WKYC on Monday: “[it was] laced with profanity, [it] mentioned Kent Statement University by name, [and it] also mentioned our president by name and concluded with the expression that he was going to shoot up the campus.”

When a university employee saw the aggressive post related to the university, local authorities and university police were immediately notified. On Saturday, university police interviewed Koberna about the incident, Mansfield told the AP. Soon after that, Kent State University filed the cases, 2012 CR A 01502 K and 2012 CR B 01503 K, in the Portage County municipal court. Officials proceeded to take Koberna into custody on Sunday, according to Kent, OH newspaper, the Kent Patch.

According to court documents, yesterday, Koberna was arraigned on two criminal charges: a felony charge of inducing panic and a misdemeanor charge of aggravated menacing. Koberna’s family posted the necessary bail to release him from custody today. Still, though, Koberna will be monitored by means of a GPS-tracking bracelet until his next hearing on Friday, according to court records.

In addition to criminal charges, Koberna faces pending expulsion from Kent State University, according to university officials.

But what does this case mean for non-profits working to uncover the aggression behind university shootings before they happen? The head of one non-profit argues that churches and non-profits need to focus efforts on mediums for online communication.

Pastor Jamie of faith-based website, followme.org, describes the challenge: “There is a whole world of communication on the Twitter-sphere and in social media. To positively effect change in these lives, these organizations need to engage people where they’re at.”

In response to the scare, Koberna’s Twitter account has since been disabled.

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Jeff White
FollowMe.org
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