A University of Missouri professor who encouraged his students to stand up to the “bullies” threatening to kill black students on campus by taking a scheduled exam Wednesday has offered his resignation. Dale Brigham’s email about the exam was met with immediate backlash from some of his students, who accused him of not caring about their safety.
After two men allegedly used the social app Yik Yak to threaten to shoot “any black people” on campus Tuesday night, many professors sent emails telling their students to stay home the next day if they felt unsafe.
Brigham, an associate teaching professor in the university’s Nutrition & Exercise Physiology department, sent a similar email, though his was less gentle in tone.
“If you don’t feel safe coming to class, then don’t come to class,” he wrote. “I will be there, and there will be an exam administered in our class. If you give into bullies, they win. The only way bullies are defeated is by standing up to them. If we cancel the exam, they win; if we go through with it, they lose. I know which side I am on. You make your own choice.”
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
Later that night, after the controversy spread online, Brigham sent a second email softening his original stance:
My safety wasn't his main concern a few hours ago but...🐸☕️ pic.twitter.com/tL6WC3Waxp— killa² (@_youlovejas) November 11, 2015
The next day, Brigham cancelled class altogether, rescheduled the exam, and offered his resignation to the school.
“I made a mistake, and I do not want to cause further harm,” he told KOMU 8. “I am just trying to do what I think is best for our students and the university as an institution… If my leaders think that my leaving would help, I am all for it.”
School officials refused to accept Brigham’s letter of resignation and, as of this morning, he still remains an employee at the school.