Update: According to NBC News, the University of Missouri has rejected Brigham’s resignation.
University of Missouri Professor Dale Brigham resigned on Thursday amid a mounting backlash against his suggestion that African-American students should not skip class despite the fact that several threats had been made against them.
“If you don’t feel safe coming to class, then don’t come to class,” Brigham wrote in an email to his class. “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,” Brigham added. “You make your own choice.”
The reply did not sit well with many African-American students who felt Brigham was trivializing the death threats which were posted online.
"That’s our lives in danger,” one student told the Washington Post. "I don’t want to even touch campus. I don’t even want to leave my house, let alone go to campus.”
My Teacher had the nerve to email me, “If we cancel class, then we let the bullies win.” Like this is a game or something.— JJ (@JJNotJayJay) November 11, 2015
In the face of mounting criticism and harassment (his personal information posted online) Brigham resigned.
“I could have and should have used much better words in trying to say that we must stand up to hatred and not let those kind of people who make threats run our lives,” he told one student.
While many were pleased with Brigham’s resignation, some supporters were also rallying to his defense, including former Mizzou Tigers football player T.J. Moe:
Dale Brigham, who I had as a teacher at Mizzou, just had to resign for telling kids to do exactly what they came to college for: GROW UP— T.J. Moe (@TJMoe28) November 11, 2015
So far, two people have been arrested for the death threats, although authorities say the suspects did not appear to have the means to carry out an actual attack.
(Source: The Washington Post)