To see full coverage on this issue: Reacting to on-campus racism, Western student arrested in connection with Yik Yak Threat, Students reach out to community in response to hate speech, Students react to hate speech shutdown
Following his arrest on suspicion of writing racially-charged comments on social media, the judge set bail at $10,000 for Western student Tysen Campbell, 19, at his hearing Tuesday, Dec. 1.
The post made on the social media app, Yik Yak, reportedly read “lynch her” and was directed at Associated Students President Belina Seare. The comment was likely “sarcastic,” his older brother Morgan Campbell said.
The judge issued a no-contact order against Campbell, requiring him to not communicate with Associated Students President Belina Seare. When questioned on whether Campbell would comply with the order, his attorney stated that Campbell “does not know who that individual is.”
The University Communications office declined to comment with respect to this statement.
Campbell’s green jumpsuit and folded hands were barely visible to those observing his bail hearing. He was arrested only one day prior, Nov. 30, on campus by University Police. The public was only able to view the hearing from a monitor in the basement viewing room of the courthouse.
Sitting with reporters and representatives in the Whatcom County Jail House basement was Campbell’s former girlfriend Diana Cortes and oldest brother Morgan Campbell. The comments Campbell made were a mistake and a “one-time thing,” Morgan Campbell, 25, said.
“I’ve known him his entire life…something may have been said but it was full of sarcasm; nothing serious was behind it,” Morgan Campbell said.
Campbell has been ordered to not enter onto Western’s campus following his release, the prosecutor said. Campbell plans to stay with his family in Granite Falls, Washington after the bail is processed, his attorney said during the hearing.
Before the hearing, Cortes stood to the side of an open hallway as Morgan Campbell described his brother to the press. Cortes had spoken to Tysen the morning of his arrest; finding out that Campbell was taken in by police “hit her like a book in the face,” Cortes said.
“I’m Hispanic and he loves my family like no guy had ever loved my family. He is the least racist person I know,” Cortes said. “What he did was a mistake and was something any young person could have done.”
The alleged comment, which resulted in the cancellation of classes at Western on Tuesday, Nov. 24, could place Campbell in prison for up to five years. The potential charges regarding malicious harassment will be detailed at his arraignment on Friday, Dec. 11.
What Campbell has faced following the post is unfair, Morgan Campbell said. As an honor roll student majoring in sports medicine and physical therapy, and member of the track team, Campbell is not too different from others; the mistake could have happened to anyone, Cortes said.
Describing Campbell in three words, Cortes said he is “determined, hard working, and loving.”
Cortes has known Campbell since fifth grade and said that he would never intentionally hurt someone. She asks others to try to understand what his family and loved ones are going through.
The whole family has been worried since hearing of Campbell’s arrest, Morgan Campbell said. “My mom is a nervous wreck.”
Morgan Campbell said that releasing his brother’s name before he was formally charged was unfair and will likely interfere with Campbell’s ability to complete college.
Cortes and Morgan Campbell deny having talked to Campbell since the arrest. If given the chance, Morgan Campbell would let him know that the whole family is rooting for him, he said.
“I understand students are upset. I just think it is an unfortunate situation. People say things they don’t mean all the time — this time it just blew up,” Morgan Campbell said.
This instance is an example of how any one mistake can escalate into something much larger, Morgan Campbell said.
“That is why I am here. I want to try to straighten things out and make things fair for him,” Morgan Campbell said.
**Editors note: On Dec 5 this story was updated from a previous version to clarify that the no-contact order is issued to Tysen Campbell.