Professor’s email evokes response from students
Nutrition professor Dale Brigham wrote that canceling the scheduled exam would be letting “bullies” win.
Nov. 11, 2015
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.
My professor clearly doesn't care. He still expects me to go to class for an exam while THREATS ARE BEING MADE! pic.twitter.com/R2JO6D723w— killa² (@_youlovejas) November 11, 2015
Students tweeted out screenshots of other professors’ responses as examples of how they felt professors should be reacting to the situation.
THIS is how you respect the emotions and safety of your students. pic.twitter.com/M63UdXsnXl— Young Leesh (@LiciaLeesh) November 11, 2015
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.
My safety wasn't his main concern a few hours ago but... pic.twitter.com/tL6WC3Waxp— killa² (@_youlovejas) November 11, 2015
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.”
@Mizzou will continue operations today with increased security. No current threat.— R. Bowen Loftin (@bowtieger) November 11, 2015
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 Ratemyprofessors.com, Brigham’s resignation was met with mixed reactions from Twitter users when they heard the news.
@oshima9 Indeed. It was a garbage email to send. Sadly, by all accounts, he was a good professor. How we treat students matters though…— Matthew Ketchum (@mattketchum) November 11, 2015
@Kmarkobarstool Dude was a great guy, too. Solid professor who loved his students. Sucks.— Connor Kubel (@CKubel22) November 11, 2015
@Kmarkobarstool holy shit. What were the odds a professor besides click would be the first to resign? 1,000,000:1?— Blanco (@BSElOsoBlanco) November 11, 2015
@Phil_Cosby_ Good and all the rest of the callous professors need to go. Let them go and get better professors there.— Tayé Foster Bradshaw (@lattegriot) 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
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!”