University officials have rejected Brigham’s resignation, indicating that he may stick around after all. Brigham made a statement to KOMU 8 News suggesting his resignation was intended more as a statement.
“I am just trying to do what I think is best for our students and the university as an institution,” he said. “If my leaders think that my leaving would help, I am all for it. I made a mistake, and I do not want to cause further harm.”
A professor at the University of Missouri (MU) has announced his resignation, hounded out after refusing to cancel an exam and telling students to stand up to online threats.
The situation developed with incredible speed to drive nutrition and physiology professor Dale Brigham from his position at MU.
Brigham had scheduled a Wednesday exam for his Nutritional Science 1034 class. Some students emailed Tuesday night asking if they could skip the exam and make it up later, saying they were afraid to attend class due to threats posted online against black students.
Brigham, who is white, initially replied by saying the exam would not be delayed or canceled, and told students to come to class as scheduled.
“If you give in to bullies, they win,” Brigham said in an email to the class. “The only way bullies are defeated is by standing up to them. If we cancel the exam, they win; if we go through with it, they lose.”
“I know which side I am on,” he said to conclude the message. “You make your own choice.” Brigham also pointed out to The Washington Post that MU officials had refused to cancel classes or put out any statements regarded the alleged threats, indicating that they are currently not seen as credible.
“If they confirm any of these threats, I will follow through appropriately,” he said. While MU officials hadn’t detected any serious threats, at about the same time as Brigham’s emails a bogus rumor was sweeping across MU that Ku Klux Klan members were menacing the campus. (RELATED: Mizzou Students Hallucinate KKK On Campus)
Brigham was savaged online for his response by both MU students and others, who accused him of being callous about the plight of black students.
My Teacher had the nerve to email me, "If we cancel class, then we let the bullies win." Like this is a game or something.
— JJ not Jay-Jay (@nugget2times) November 11, 2015
After a few hours, Brigham gave in, sending a follow-up email Tuesday night apologizing for his wording and saying that students would be allowed to make up the test if the missed it:
— Gette (@demisoule) November 11, 2015
But events have continued to move rapidly, and after enduring a deluge of hostile emails, Brigham announced Wednesday afteroon he was canceling the exam entirely and quitting his job.Brigham confirmed to KOMU 8 News that he has submitted his resignation to MU officials, though he hasn’t elaborated whether it was due to student criticism, official pressure, or some other reason.
Already, many people claiming to be current or former Brigham students have gone online to vent their outrage:
@Nero I was a student in Dale Brigham's class and can honestly say he was one of the nicest teachers at Mizzou. (I'm brown).
— Bud Hennekes (@Aboundlessworld) November 11, 2015
Damn just saw Dale Brigham resigned. He was easily one of my favorite professors at Mizzou and this shouldnt have happened. What a shame
— Ricky Armola (@SlickRickDaRulr) November 11, 2015
While Brigham is leaving, communications professor Melissa Click, the communications professor who was severe criticized for attacking a student journalist on Monday, remains at her post, having only given up a courtesy appointment she held at the school of journalism (where she did not teach).
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