MU Faculty Council feedback sought about release of controversial videos

Friday, April 29, 2011 | 7:58 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — MU Faculty Council members were encouraged Friday to help distribute an article that outlines steps leading to the resignation of a lecturer at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Faculty Council Chairwoman Leona Rubin sent the article from Inside Higher Ed to the council, calling the implications "scary."

The piece describes fallout from this week's release of videos edited by conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart. The videos portray the lecturer and a professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City as supporters of violent union tactics.

Breitbart's videos are condensed from hours of classroom discussion, and university officials on both campuses have agreed they distort the educators' views.

Don Giljum, the UMSL lecturer, and UMKCprofessor Judy Ancel presented the lectures seen in the video during a class called Labor, Politics and Society. 

The videos created an Internet stir among conservative commentators after they were posted last weekend. In the footage, the educators appear to be in favor of using violent tactics in labor-management relations.

Giljum resigned in the aftermath. He told a reporter with Inside Higher Ed that a dean told him to resign, based on pressure from her superiors.

No action has been taken against the UMKC professor. Campus Provost Gail Hackett issued a statement Thursday pledging to stand behind Ancel. She said the videos posted by Breitbart rely on “selective editing” and are presented in “an inaccurate and distorted matter.”

She also said Breitbart violated the students’ privacy by using their images without permission.

"It is clear that edited videos posted on the Internet depict statements from the instructors in an inaccurate and distorted manner by taking their statements out of context and reordering the sequence in which those statements were actually made so as to change their meaning," according to Hackett's statement.

"Such selective editing is disturbing and the release of students’ images without their permission is a violation of their privacy rights."

Breitbart was the blogger who posted videos of Shirley Sherrod, a U.S. Department of Agriculture employee, that led to her forced resignation in July 2010. Video excerpts portrayed her as an anti-white racist.

Upon review of her full address to the NAACP, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack apologized and offered her another position — which she turned down. She has since sued Breitbart for libel and slander.

Rubin said it was too soon to have gotten much feedback from council members at MU but believes they will be troubled by the issue.

"I suspect no one will like the idea of having their work, classroom or otherwise, distorted by anyone," she said in an e-mail.

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Joanne Conti May 4, 2011 | 8:25 a.m.

As a small, non-union business owner, I find the comments made by Ms. Judy Ancel very disturbing. I also feel Ms. Hacketts casual dismissal of this blatant, hostile attack on non-union business to be telling. Ms. Ancel's dialogue shows how duplicitous such left leaning Professors are, how they have no shame, no integrity, intellectually or otherwise. I think Both Ms. Ancel and Ms. Hackett need to resign. To even suggest "salting" is so vile, so slimy, and so violently destructive to many of us, that to allow either of these women a place in the University system is unacceptable.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz May 4, 2011 | 12:35 p.m.

Joanne, are you even open to the possibility that Breitbart has manipulated the videos enough that you don't even know what the Ancel said? The videos have been pulled by YouTube for violating their terms of use, but my understanding is that they are so edited that the female professor's outfit changes twice during the video. Additionally, video indicating that she is not necessarily espousing violence (but is instead reading from a book I think) appears to put words in her mouth. After the Sherrod fiasco, I don't put an ounce of credibility into what Breitbart puts out.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Dick May 4, 2011 | 1:36 p.m.

Breitbart did a hatchet job to trump up bogus accusations against the professors. I hope they sue this hack and nail his slimy ass to the wall.

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