Missouri School of Journalism proud of photographer Tim Tai. Melissa Click, not so much.

University of Missouri Professor Melissa Click telling a student journalist to leave a public space. (Mark Schierbecker/YouTube)

Following up on the bizarre coordinated blocks against reporters by some protesting at the University of Missouri yesterday, a statement from David Kurpius, dean of the Missouri School of Journalism:

The Missouri School of Journalism is proud of photojournalism senior Tim Tai for how he handled himself during a protest on Carnahan Quad on the University of Missouri campus.

University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe and University of Missouri-Columbia Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin both resigned on Nov. 9 after complaints and protests of their leadership. Tai was covering the event as a freelancer for ESPN when protesters blocked his access through physical and verbal intimidation.

The news media have First Amendment rights to cover public events. Tai handled himself professionally and with poise.

Also, for clarification, Assistant Professor Melissa Click, featured in several videos confronting journalists, is not a faculty member in the Missouri School of Journalism.

She is a member of the MU Department of Communication in the College of Arts and Science. In that capacity she holds a courtesy appointment with the School of Journalism. Journalism School faculty members are taking immediate action to review that appointment.

The events of Nov. 9 have raised numerous issues regarding the boundaries of the First Amendment. Although the attention on journalists has shifted the focus from the news of the day, it provides an opportunity to educate students and citizens about the role of a free press.

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