COLLEGE

Let's Not Lose Sight Of The Real Problems At Mizzou

This isn't about the media.

There was no shortage of media on campus when University of Missouri system president Tim Wolfe announced his resignation on Monday.

Nor was the media completely absent in the days prior to the announcement, when tensions ran high at the university and black members of the school's football team joined protests over how Wolfe and other administrators had handled racist incidents at the school. 

So when students and (at least) one professor began aggressively protesting the media's presence -- as captured in the below video, which shows a mob of demonstrators harassing a young journalist -- it caught a lot of people by surprise.

It's a cringe-worthy video, particularly considering it was filmed at a school known for its prestigious journalism program. It's doubly concerning that the woman in the video has been identified as Melissa Click, an assistant professor of mass media at the university who, days earlier, put out a public call on Facebook asking for more media coverage of the protests.

The media responded to the affront, as it so often does, with a flood of coverage. But amid all the anger and a flurry of calls for Click's resignation -- who stepped down from her appointment at the journalism school late Tuesday but is still a professor in the university's Department of Communications -- let's not forget what inspired all of this to begin with.

"Racism needs to be the main issue here, but that's not my prerogative," Mark Schierbecker, the student journalist who filmed the altercation, wrote Wednesday morning on Twitter. "Fighting racism vs advocating freedom of press is a false dichotomy."

  • Racism
    Let’s not give more weight to the actions of one professor than to students who have been forced to conf
    Michael B. Thomas via Getty Images
    Let’s not give more weight to the actions of one professor than to students who have been forced to confront racism on campus.

    This entire ordeal is the result of a litany of overt incidents of racism, ranging from a swastika smeared in feces on the wall of a residence hall to regular tales of hate speech used toward minority students.

    Protesters directed their anger at Wolfe after he refused to engage with them during a demonstration at the school's Homecoming parade in October. He instead forced his motorcade through, clipping a student in the process.

    A graduate student named Jonathan Butler later started a hunger strike to protest the school's response and earned the support of the university's football team, which began boycotting any football-related activities.
  • Money
    Following months of unrest on campus, Wolfe resigned Monday only after the Mizzou football team joined the protests
    Replay Photos via Getty Images
    Following months of unrest on campus, Wolfe resigned Monday only after the Mizzou football team joined the protests.

    Had the team forfeited this weekend's game against Brigham Young University, the school would've been hit with a $1 million fine, not to mention the financial losses associated with ticket sales, stadium concessions and TV distribution deals, notes The Atlantic.
  • Health Care
    Under pressure from state Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia), who "<a href="http://themissouritimes.com/22797/mizzou-drops-plann
    Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Misssouri
    Under pressure from state Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia), who "pledged to get MU out of the abortion business," MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin asked for a review of university health policies this September. This resulted in the loss of access privileges for Planned Parenthood doctors. 

    The changes are scheduled to take effect Dec. 1, at which point the Planned Parenthood clinic in Columbia will lose its ability to perform abortions.

    The move has met considerable resistance on campus. Petitions asking the chancellor to reverse his decision have garnered more than 2,500 signatures from students, faculty, staff and community members.

    The same day Wolfe announced his resignation, Loftin said he would step down at the end of the year. A letter from nine deans at MU accused Loftin of creating a "toxic environment through threat, fear and intimidation." 

    It's unclear if Loftin will reinstate privileges for Planned Parenthood doctors before his departure.

 

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Mizzou Players Respond To Wolfe's Resignation
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