ST. LOUIS (CBS St. Louis/AP )– In a recent interview with MSNBC, University of Missouri’s student body vice president said that first amendment rights on campus are making for a “hostile and unsafe” environment right now.
Journalists complained that their first amendment rights were being violated after some students and faculty made attacks on media.
Protesters were heard chanting “Hey hey, ho ho. Reporters have got to go,” and some tried to block a freelance student photographer from covering protesters’ celebratory reaction to the system president’s departure over what they saw as indifference to racial tensions at the school.
Video shot by student Mark Schierbecker shows Janna Basler, who works in the university’s office of Greek life, telling photographer Tim Tai, a student working freelance for ESPN, to “leave these students alone” in their “personal space.” Moments later, Melissa Click, an assistant professor in Missouri’s communications department, is seen confronting Schierbecker and calling for “muscle” to help remove him from the protest area.
Student body vice president Brenda Smith-Lezama told MSNBC that journalists “cannot approach these situations with hostility and anger as it only escalates the situation.”
Smith-Lezama says some of the viral videos of journalists being denied access to students didn’t focus on the fact that the student journalist was being “pushy” and “aggressive.”
She was also asked about colleges becoming places of “censorship and prohibition” during cases of racial discrimination.
“I personally am tired of hearing that First Amendment rights protect students when they are creating a hostile and unsafe learning environment for myself and for other students here. I think that it’s important for us to create that distinction and create a space where we can all learn from one another and start to create a place of healing rather than a place where we are experiencing a lot of hate like we have in the past,” she told MSNBC.