The University of Missouri on Wednesday suspended an administrator seen in a viral video trying to block a reporter from covering this week's student protests.
Janna Basler, the school's associate director of student life, was placed on administrative leave and relieved of her duties as director of Greek life while the school investigates.
Bassler was among Mizzou staff members and students shown on camera trying to block student journalist Tim Tai from photographing a protest that followed Monday's resignation of university President Tim Wolfe, whose handling of race-related incidents had been harshly criticized. Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin announced hours later that he would step down.
Bassler can be seen on the video telling Tai, who was on assignment from ESPN, he needed to leave a public quad and moved toward him before ordering him to "back off."
The Department of Student Life is investigating Basler's actions, department director Mark Lucas said in a statement Wednesday. Basler issued an apology the day after the clash.
"I allowed my emotions to get the best of me while trying to protect some of our students. Instead of defusing an already tense situation, I contributed to its escalation. I regret how I handled the situation, and I am offering a public apology to the journalist involved," Basler said in a statement.
An email sent to Basler's Mizzou address seeking comment was returned by a Student Life spokeswoman, who said Basler was unavailable.
Communications professor Melissa Click was shown on the same protest video trying to block a reporter and calling for "muscle" to remove him. Click on Tuesday resigned her courtesy appointment to MU's esteemed School of Journalism. She later reported receiving rape and death threats.
Tensions have been simmering for months on the Columbia, Missouri, campus. Students dissatisfied with Wolfe's failure to take strong action responding to a series of racial incidents prompted many to call for his resignation.
In the past week, a graduate student started a hunger strike and the Mizzou football team refused to play, drawing national attention.
MU's campus was far from settled on Wednesday. Various anonymous threats, largely targeting black students, were seen on social media sites, including Yik Yak. Police on Wednesday arrested one man suspected of threatening the school.
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