The University of Missouri has been awash with controversy lately as large-scale student protests concerning racial incidents on campus have led to the resignation of both the University President and Chancellor.
Now, new footage has surfaced to add an extra layer of disturbance to the conflict: in moment of irony, a University of Missouri media professor, Melissa Click, can be seen trying to demand a journalist covering the protest to leave, yelling, “You need to get out. You need to get out,” and asking other individuals for some “muscle” to help push him out.
Tim Tai, the twenty-year-old photojournalism student covering the events for ESPN, argues with Click, claiming the campus is a public space and that the First Amendment protects his right to cover the story.
It would ostensibly seem that an assistant media professor would understand the importance of freedom of press, and it appears that she does: in a bizarre turn of events, only two days earlier Click posted on Facebook, imploring the media to broadcast Jonathan Butler’s hunger strike and the efforts of MU students to combat campus racism.
Oddly enough, other students joined in Click’s attempts to prevent Tai from photographing the protests. The video reveals activists yelling at Tai and chanting “Hey hey! Ho ho! Reporters have to go!”
Tai ultimately gives in and leaves the quad, although he later stated that, “Sometimes you have to put down the cameras. But national breaking news on a public lawn is not one of those times.”
Tai is right: the media helps bring attention to significant demonstrations such as these, and if remaining within ethical boundaries, a journalist’s ability to cover a story should not be hindered by protestors or a media professor, of all individuals.
Banner Image Credit: Youtube, Mark Schierbecker