Mizzou's 'Safe-Space Enforcers' Face Backlash
Three members of the University of Missouri faculty are facing a backlash after a shocking video showed them taunting and harassing student journalists during a campus protest on Monday.
Disgraced MU faculty member Melissa Click apologized for her part in the embarrassing spectacle, and Tuesday night, under pressure, she resigned her courtesy appointment with the Missouri School of Journalism.
Erik Wemple of the Washington Post's media blog is calling for more than just resignations from courtesy appointments, however. He wants Mizzou to fire Richard J. “Chip” Callahan, Janna Basler, and Click because of their thuggish behavior and shocking disregard for the 1st Amendment.
Professor Callahan is the chairman of the Religious Studies Department at the university, but his religious sensibilities didn't stop him from joining the student mob in blocking photographer Tim Tai, as seen in the opening moments of the video.
As students moved menacingly toward Tai, he complained, prompting Callahan to respond, “Don’t talk to me. It’s not my problem.”
According to the St. Louis Dispatch, safe-space enforcers Click and Callahan "share an address."
Click reportedly "shut herself in her university office on Tuesday afternoon and sobbing could be heard through the door."
At 5 p.m. Tuesday, Click emerged from her office and released a written statement apologizing for her actions.
She said she had personally apologized to the journalists involved and expressed regret that she had shifted attention from the “students’ campaign for justice.” “From this experience I have learned about humanity and humility,” Click said.
The entire statement can be read here.
Meanwhile, fickle student activists have within the span of one day apparently gone from chanting, “Hey hey, ho ho, reporters have got to go,” to distributing leaflets urging protesters to respect journalists’ First Amendment rights and to welcome them.
Janna Basler, director of Greek life and leadership on campus, hunkered down at home Tuesday, and refused to answer questions about her role in the jacobin mess that was caught on video.
According to the St. Louis Dispatch, an individual in the Greek life office said Basler was not in the office Tuesday.
When she answered the door at her house in a subdivision on the outskirts of Columbia, Basler said only, “I’m sorry, I just can’t.” The university’s three Greek student councils released a statement supporting Basler, saying they do not believe her actions Monday “were reflective of her intentions to support students.”
"These three university employees had a chance to stick up for free expression on Monday," said Erik Wemple at the Washington Post. "Instead, they stood up for coercion and darkness. They should lose their jobs as a result."
Janna Basler has been placed on administrative leave.
Like Click, Basler, director of Greek life, issued an apology to Tai for her behavior, saying she allowed her emotions to get the most of her “while trying to protect some of our students.”
Richard J. “Chip” Callahan apologized Tuesday night to student photojournalist Tim Tai for his involvement in Monday’s videotaped fracas at the school’s Carnahan Quadrangle.
“[H]e apologized and I accepted,” wrote Tai in an e-mail to the Erik Wemple Blog.