Mizzou Prof Quits After 'Bullies' Email
University won't accept his resignation
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 12, 2015 4:58 AM CST
Updated Nov 12, 2015 6:56 AM CST
In this photo from Monday, students cheer while listening to members of the activist group Concerned Student 1950 speak.   (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)
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(Newser) – Wednesday was another eventful day at the University of Missouri, where the newest controversy involves a professor who told his students to ignore threats of violence and come in for an exam. "If you give in to bullies, they win," wrote associate professor of nutrition and exercise physiology Dale Brigham in an email to students, per NBC. "The only way bullies are defeated is by standing up to them. If we cancel the exam, they win; if we go through with it, they lose." This approach angered some students, especially since Brigham is white and one of the threats, for which a 19-year-old man was arrested on Wednesday, warns: "I'm going to stand my ground tomorrow and shoot every black person I see."

Brigham resigned his position as the controversy grew, but university chiefs decided not to accept his resignation. "I am just trying to do what I think is best for our students and the university as an institution," the professor told KOMU 8. "If my leaders think that my leaving would help, I am all for it. I made a mistake, and I do not want to cause further harm." In other developments:

  • Black students accused the university of downplaying the threats, and one of Brigham's students tells the Washington Post he is an "amazing person" and she is surprised he didn't seem to take the threats of violence seriously enough. "I know we are in the South, and I know that we are the minority and racial tensions are really high," she says.
  • A university employee seen ordering a journalist to get away from student activists has been suspended, reports the Columbia Daily Tribune. Janna Basler, director of Greek life, is on leave pending an investigation, university officials say. Another employee, communications professor Melissa Click, who called for "muscle" to remove journalists, has apologized and quit a courtesy appointment.
  • Tim Tai, the journalist Basler confronted, tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he's not sure if the suspension should happen. "I'm disappointed that there was shoving going on and that professors and students responded in the way that was recorded in the video," he says, but "as a journalist, I didn't think twice about that encounter or trying to get some kind of punishment out of that."
  • On Fox Wednesday night, Ben Carson told Megyn Kelly that colleges should talk to students but not accept "infantile behavior," Mediaite reports. He blamed campus unrest on "outside forces who wish to create disturbances" and said more colleges needed to show "moral courage."