Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Mizzou Protests

I am still trying to get my arms around this issue at the University of Missouri, where student protests over alleged racist incidents have led to the resignation of the school president. It may well be that black students' complaints over racist incidents and lack of a sufficient school response are justified. One case of a drunken white man showing up on campus and making a racial slur appears to be documented. Other cases of Confederate flags on campus also appear to be factual. Doe this mean that Mizzou is a racist school? I rather doubt it although I have never been there. Should the president of the university, a hapless figure named Tim Wolfe, have accepted responsibility and stepped down? I don't know. I guess when your football team threatens to walk off, somebody's head has to roll. (Bottom line and all that.)

Yet, the below incident that just occurred on campus is troubling. As students exercised their First Amendment rights by holding a public demonstration, a very courageous young man named Tim Tai tried to exercise his own First Amendment right and videotape the protest. He was met with opposition from students who tried to stop him from filming.

This is the same type of opposition (though on a milder scale) that I have encountered at UC Irvine when I have tried to videotape outside speakers invited to campus by the Muslim Student Union. Like Tai, I have insisted on my right to film the speakers (I don't even try to film the students.)

One can only wonder where the campus police of Mizzou were. Thankfully, the Missou students did not resort to violence. Mt Tai was well within his right to film the protest. It was on public property. Those who tried to stop him should brush up on their constitutional law.

* Update: It appears one of the females in the above video telling Mr Tai not to film is an asst. professor with ties to the Journalism Dept. no less!


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