Mizzou (University of Missouri – Columbia) remains in the news three days after former President Tim Wolfe resigned amid accusations of insensitivity to incidents of campus racial discrimination. After Wolfe resigned on Monday, “Concerned Student 1950,” an activist group with a name that refers to the year the first black student was admitted, held a march of “resilience.”
Mark Schierbecker filmed disturbing video that showed the student prosteters reaction to Tim Tai, a Mizzou student photojournalist, who tried to photograph the events for ESPN, noted Fox News. The students had created a “safe space” on campus grounds and objected to Tai getting too close. He said he only wanted to do his job and record the Mizzou demonstrations for posterity. Schierbecker eventually spoke to Melissa Click, a Mizzou assistant professor who was standing with the students. She responded to his request for assistance.
No, you need to get out. You need to get out. You need to get out.
At one point, she appears to grab for Schierbecker’s camera. When he doesn’t leave, she asks for help to make him leave.
A Mizzou professor assaulted a student Monday and tried to incite violence against him. Her name is Melissa Click https://t.co/c0dymaLc1O
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) November 10, 2015
Since that time, Click has resigned what is being called a “courtesy appoint” at Mizzou’s School of Journalism. Per the University, she never had a teaching role at the School. The appointment allowed Click to serve on Mizzou graduate student panels, and it’s unclear whether she was paid for this work. What is clear, however, is that she is also an assistant professor of communications. There is ambiguity on whether she has resigned from this position, because there is no official word from Mizzou staff.
In the video featured at the top of this page, Tai repeatedly tries to reason with Mizzou protesters on how the First Amendment not only protects their right to assemble but also permits him as a member of the press to be there. Apparently, Schierbecker appealed to Click, because he could see she was older, probably not a student and could possibly help him and Tai with the situation.
It’s ironic that a professor who was even loosely associated with the School of Journalism wouldn’t understand the value of allowing Tai to film the demonstration for ESPN. The Daily Caller reports that the Mizzou professor apologized to Tai in an open letter and also issued a statement of apology.
I regret the language and strategies I used, and sincerely apologize to the MU campus community, and journalists at large, for my behavior, and also for the way my actions have shifted attention away from the students’ campaign for justice
The Daily Caller added that the associate professor and chair of Mizzou’s religious studies department, Richard “Chip” Callahan, was also involved in intimidating Tai. In the featured video, the professor admonishes Tai not to push the crowd, although it appears the young man is standing still.
You cannot push them to get closer and closer.
The Mizzou photojournalist explains he is not pushing and asks the student protesters not to push him either. Tai is then told by Callahan not to talk to him about it, because it’s not his problem. It doesn’t appear that Tai did anything wrong. In an interview, Tai said, “If I had to to it over again, I probably wouldn’t have engaged as much.” Fortunately, the situation didn’t explode into violence.
Mizzou professor Callahan apologized to Tai in a phone call on Tuesday, and it has also been disclosed that Click is married to Callahan. It has not been confirmed whether he and his wife coordinated the media shutdown.
[Image: Brian Davidson/Getty]