COLUMBIA — Janna Basler has returned to her job as Assistant Director of Greek Life at MU after more than a month of administrative leave, the MU Office of Greek Life said Tuesday.

The MU Office of Greek Life placed Basler on administrative leave last month after a video that showed her confronting student photographer Tim Tai went viral. Tai was trying to approach a student encampment on the Mel Carnahan Quadrangle to take photos.

Students with the group Concerned Student 1950 had set up the camp the week before in protest of UM System President Tim Wolfe and his response to racist incidents on campus. The video was shot soon after Wolfe announced that he would resign.

The video, which was viewed 2.7 million times as of Tuesday, set off a firestorm on social media. It shows students forming a human chain around the Concerned Student 1950 campsite. Students can be seen blocking Tai's view and keeping him away from the site. 

The students declared the campsite a "safe space" and attempted to keep journalists from entering even though the quad is a public space.

"Sir, I'm sorry, these are people too," Basler said in the video. "You need to back off."

Both sides stood their ground.

Later in the video, Tai asks Basler what her name is, but she wouldn't say. Her response: "My name is Concerned Student 1950."

"Are you with the Office of Greek Life?" Tai asks.

"My name is 1950," she said.

Critics said that Basler, students and other MU staff members had stifled reporters' rights to document the scene on the quad. 

After the video gained traction online, Basler was placed on administrative leave and issued the following statement:

"As a student affairs professional, I take my responsibility to students very seriously. Yesterday, I allowed my emotions to get the best of me while trying to protect some of our students. Instead of defusing an already tense situation, I contributed to its escalation. I regret how I handled the situation, and I am offering a public apology to the journalist involved.

"I have the utmost respect for journalists and the profession of journalism. I have devoted my career to helping students learn and develop outside the classroom. What happened on Carnahan Quadrangle has been a lesson for me. I am deeply sorry for what happened."

The day after the video went viral, students at the campsite backtracked on their "safe space" declaration, welcoming media to the camp and admitting that the quad was, in fact, open to all.

MU spokesman Christian Basi said Wednesday he can’t comment on whether Basler was paid while she was on administrative leave because “that would be considered part of any disciplinary procedures.”

Supervising editor is Jack Suntrup.

  • Enterprise reporter for the Columbia Missourian

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