Newspapers hardly run obituaries unless somebody pays for them, so you probably didn’t see the official death notice of the English language a couple of weeks ago. When the University of Missouri released a letter from 115 faculty members supporting their colleague Melissa Click and demanding that the school “defend her First Amendment rights of protest and freedom to act as a private citizen,” words lost all meaning.
“First Amendment rights,” in this case, are Click’s rights to order a mob attack on a student journalist who was covering a protest on the Missouri campus last November. Notice the absence of words like “allegedly” or “accused of” in that sentence. The entire incident was captured on video.
It shows a videographer from Missouri’s student newspaper approaching one of the demonstrators at a campus protest against racism and asking if he can interview her. An angrily scowling Click immediately intervenes. “You need to get out, you need to get out,” she demands, shoving the reporter, although the demonstration was taking place in a public area of the campus.