UI ‘expulsion’ may have followed threat

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UI ‘expulsion’ may have followed threat

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By Cole Johnson & Brianna Jett
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A University of Iowa student was expelled last week, and he claims it followed a post on social media the UI found “threatening.”

Hanxiang Ni, 22, was expelled on Feb. 2 and left the country two days later on a flight to Shanghai, according to Ni’s posts on social media.
The UI confirms it investigated a threat last week but will not say if it was related to Ni or his expulsion, or if Ni was expelled, invoking a law covering student-information privacy.

Ni said in a post on Weibo, a popular Chinese social-media site, he would “let [his] professors experience the fear of Lu Gang” (translated by a Confucius scholar at the Confucius Institute for The Daily Iowan) if he did not do well in his classes. Gang Lu was a Chinese graduate student and the gunman in the Nov. 1, 1991, shooting on the UI campus in which five people were killed. Lu then committed suicide.
In a post in which Ni summarized the events, he noted the post wasn’t meant to be taken seriously.

He said the post was in Chinese in hopes of avoiding a “misunderstanding” and that he was trying to communicate that he studies hard.

His expulsion from the university terminated his student visa that allowed him to stay in the United States, an immigration official said. In a situation such as this, international students are provided with two options: either leave voluntarily, which would allow them to return later, or be investigated as an illegal alien by immigration.

Ni was a student during the 2013-14 academic year and again during spring 2016 as a pre-business major.

A member of the UI community reported the threat to the UI’s threat-assessment team. The team “investigated, evaluated the risk, determined there was no imminent risk, and took the necessary precautions to ensure the campus community was safe.” The UI community was not notified.

Johnson County Sherriff Lonny Pulkrabek said there were two reasons Ni was able to get an Iowa firearms-acquire permit: He was living in the state on a student visa, and he had acquired an Iowa hunting license.

“A case like this is something of an exception,” Pulkrabek said. “It’s sort of a strange quirk in the law, there are several quirks like this that allow people to get permits.”

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