Professor’s email evokes response from students

Nutrition professor Dale Brigham wrote that canceling the scheduled exam would be letting “bullies” win.

Dale Brigham, an associate teaching professor of nutrition and exercise physiology, announced his resignation on Nov. 11 following students’ responses to his email notifying them about the status of Wednesday’s exam. Despite Brigham’s announcement, he is still a member of MU’s faculty, MU spokesman Christian Basi said in an email.

Amid anonymous threats on the social media app Yik Yak, rumors of the Ku Klux Klan on campus, and possible shootings, the atmosphere was both tense and uncertain Tuesday night, causing some professors to email students about whether classes would be held Wednesday.

Brigham sent an email to some students in his classes late Tuesday evening saying that if they didn’t feel safe coming to class Wednesday, they could choose not to attend. He also wrote in the email that “if you give into bullies, they win. The only way bullies are defeated is by standing up to them.”

Brigham wrote that by canceling the exam, the “bullies” would win, and by going through with the exam ensured the bullies would lose.

He ended the email by writing, “I know which side I am on. You make your own choice.”

Brigham’s email prompted a number of responses from students upset with the wording of his email.

Students tweeted out screenshots of other professors’ responses as examples of how they felt professors should be reacting to the situation.

Brigham later sent a second email to his students at 10:59 p.m. saying that the scheduled exam could be taken in class on Wednesday as planned, or in a “group make up time.” He wrote that his main concern was that students feel safe on campus.

Brigham also wrote that no official response from the university had been issued about canceling classes, but that he would respond accordingly if that changed.

An MU alert issued at 6 a.m. on Wednesday said that “MU is operating on a regular schedule.”

Wednesday morning, Brigham sent emails to various people announcing his resignation, and the exam could be taken in class on Wednesday, Friday, Nov. 13 or Monday, Nov. 16, or by appointment scheduled with the course’s TAs. However Basi said that despite Brigham’s announcement he remains a faculty member of MU.

Rated a 4.8 out of 5 on, Brigham’s resignation was met with mixed reactions from Twitter users when they heard the news.

At 3:21 p.m. Brigham sent an email to his students with the subject line, “My Sincere Apology.” Brigham wrote that his choice of words “conveyed a lack of compassion for students who felt unsafe. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Brigham wrote that students’ safety has always been a top priority of his and that he failed to understand the fear that students may be experiencing.

He announced that NEP1034 would be taught by other faculty members for an “interim period,” as he does not want his participation to distract students from “the important business of learning.” Brigham wrote that he was deeply sorry and that he hopes his students know that he loves Mizzou and teaching.

He ended a previous email with, “It is an honor to have been your professor. Good Luck, and Godspeed, Tigers!”

Share: Facebook / Twitter / Google+

Article comments


This item does not have any approved comments yet.

Post a comment

Please provide a full name for all comments. We don't post obscene, offensive or pure hate speech.