Media Professor Resigns Courtesy Appointment At Journalism School

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Nov 11, 2015 1:01 PM
Media Professor Resigns Courtesy Appointment At Journalism School

Via NYT, University of Missouri’s associate media professor Melissa Quick, who was looking to “muscle” out a student reporter from a Mizzou "safe space," has resigned her courtesy appointment to the Missouri School of Journalism:

The professor, Melissa Click, an assistant professor in the department of communication had what was described as a “courtesy appointment” at the School of Journalism, meaning that she could serve on student thesis review panels. “Journalism school faculty members are taking immediate action to review that appointment,” David Kurpius, the dean of the school, said in a statement released Tuesday, stressing that Ms. Click did not teach at the school.

Dr. Kurpius said in a message on Twitter late Tuesday that Ms. Click resigned her courtesy appointment with the journalism school during a faculty meeting that day. It was unclear whether her status within the department of communication, which is in the College of Arts and Sciences, had changed.

Yesterday, Katie wrote about the absurd confrontation between student reporter Mark Schierbecker and Click during the recent protests over the administration’s failure to fully address the institution’s racial incidents. Click told Schierbecker, a junior at Mizzou, that he had to leave the designated media free safe space, even calling on some “muscle” to help her remove him from the protestors’ encampment on the quad. On Tuesday, the Missouri School of Journalism debated whether to revoke her courtesy appointment, with Kurpius and the associate dean at the journalism school calling her actions “a clear violation of First Amendment rights.” Quick soon apologized for her actions. The safe space was then opened to the media, but it was all for nothing. The story is no longer about alleged racism at Mizzou; it’s shifting toward political correctness, free speech, and Quick’s actions that day.

The Columbian Missourian also reported that Mizzou’s Greek Life and Leadership Assistant Director, Janna Basler, has issued an apology for her actions concerning her interaction with another student journalist, Tim Tai, who Kurpius applauded for the professionalism he exuded during this tense encounter:

At 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, the MU Office of Greek Life released a statement attributed to Basler.

"As a student affairs professional, I take my responsibility to students very seriously," Basler said. "Yesterday, 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.

"I have the utmost respect for journalists and the profession of journalism. I have devoted my career to helping students learn and develop outside the classroom. What happened on Carnahan Quadrangle has been a lesson for me. I am deeply sorry for what happened."

Mark Lucas, Department of Student Life director, said in a statement that he and Cathy Scroggs, vice chancellor of student affairs, were "reviewing videos and will be having conversations with individuals present in order to understand what happened."

What a mess.

UPDATE: Blaser has been placed on leave.