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Tuesday, November 29, 2022
NEWS  |  CAMPUS

UF student under investigation for death threat against guest speaker

Investigation comes about 2 weeks after TikTok star Josh Richards canceled his June 29 event

A mostly deserted evening along Newell Drive at the University of Florida’s Gainesville campus on Tuesday, July 22, 2021. The upcoming fall semester will see tens of thousands of students return to Gainesville, although an increase in the number of delta variant COVID-19 infections raises concerns about viral spread among unvaccinated people.
A mostly deserted evening along Newell Drive at the University of Florida’s Gainesville campus on Tuesday, July 22, 2021. The upcoming fall semester will see tens of thousands of students return to Gainesville, although an increase in the number of delta variant COVID-19 infections raises concerns about viral spread among unvaccinated people.

University police lodged a felony complaint against a UF student Friday afternoon after a death threat forced a guest speaker to cancel his appearance on campus, police say.

Ryan Marin, an 18-year-old UF microbiology sophomore, shared an edited photo to Instagram June 15 depicting “a UF guest speaker” with bullet wounds and portraying himself as an anime character, Kaworu Nagisa, standing behind the speaker with a gun, according to a UFPD sworn complaint. The image could be viewed as a threat to kill, police said.

The threat caused the speaker to suffer “a major financial loss” and “was one of the deciding factors for cancelling his event at UF,” according to the complaint. 

The criminal investigation comes about two weeks after TikTok star Josh Richards pulled out of his June 29 event two days before it was scheduled, citing an unforeseen family obligation. Marin’s alleged post was reported to police June 28.

Richards, a 20-year-old Ontario native with 25.6 million TikTok followers, was the first guest Student Government’s Accent Speakers Bureau recruited since Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn spoke March 21. The bureau announced Richards’ $60,000 visit was postponed indefinitely in a June 27 Instagram post.

Marin said he was not made aware of the investigation and denied the allegations he made an Instagram post about Richards.

Richards’ contract maintains UF is obligated to reschedule, but it is unclear when he will resume plans to speak to students.

Accent Chairman Tyler Kahan declined to comment on the complaint and directed The Alligator to UFPD.

UFPD Captain Latrell Simmons did not respond to two calls, two emails and one voicemail from The Alligator as of Saturday. The police department was closed when The Alligator visited Saturday. 

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Contact Faith Buckley at fbuckley@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @_faithbuckley.

Julia Coin contributed to this report.

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Faith Buckley

Faith is a third-year journalism student specializing in sports media. She hopes to one day work as a play-by-play announcer for the National Hockey League. 


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