“They Are Using My Video As an Excuse”

BY HANK REICHMAN

The student videojournalist who was threatened by professor Melissa Click, leading to a municipal assault charge, said Friday that he wants state lawmakers to stop using the incident to justify budget cuts for the University of Missouri (UM), according to a report in the Columbia Tribune.  Mark Schierbecker’s video of Click — demanding he leave the Concerned Student 1950 protest site on November 9 and calling for “some muscle” when he refused — has been seen more than 2.8 million times on YouTube.

On Wednesday, a Missouri House committee approved a 2 percent increase in aid to all state colleges and universities except the UM System. One reason for the action, said Chairwoman Donna Lichtenegger ( R-Jackson), was that Click still had a job.  In December, 99 Republican House members and 18 senators signed letters demanding the university fire Click, an assistant professor of communication who is up for tenure at the end of the academic year.

Click quickly reached a plea agreement with local prosecutors, but she has been suspended from her position as assistant professor of communications.  The AAUP has protested the university’s failure to provide even a semblance of due process in the case, a criticism joined by faculty leaders at the campus.

It is time to stop focusing on one incident more than three months old, Schierbecker said.

“I am going to be more public about this in the future,” he said. “I think they are using my video as an excuse for the budget cuts they already wanted to make. I think they do want her fired, just on a human level, but it has only been politically possible to cut funding because of this video.”

Schierbecker is a history major who was not on a paid journalistic assignment that day. Before the attention he has received from the video, one of his avocations was making videos and editing Wikipedia articles, sometimes uploading the videos he shot.

“If anything noteworthy happened that day, I was going to upload the video to Wikipedia,” he said.

Since he made the video, he started working freelance assignments for the conservative College Fix website. “It is kind of awkward because I am liberal,” he said.

 

One thought on ““They Are Using My Video As an Excuse”

  1. Political firestorms are just that- and they are devastating for those suffering the brunt of them. While I am ignorant of the specifics of this case, it seems at the heart of it there were a) unintended consequences rooted in the student’s actions and b) an ill-advised plea deal.

    While no one has a crystal ball to foretell the future, I think an objective person might foresee a firestorm on the horizon of all this. Hopefully the parties involved have learned that lesson independent of the zealots exploiting the situation.

    Sometimes we must sacrifice untold riches and personal security to maintain our values. And, discretion is the better part of valor. In other words, not every story is fit for publication, and not every plea deal is worth a tinker’s dam. Putting ones freedom & liberty on the line is excruciating. But I suggest everyone look to Nelson Mandela and ask, “What is my integrity worth?”

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