Today’s the day! We here at Skepticon HQ have recently (as in the past 12 hours) gotten the opportunity to add a super special session on top of our programming this year. Here is the Press Release for all the details:
Springfield, Missouri—Skepticon, the annual skeptic & atheist conference held this weekend in Springfield, Missouri and now in its eighth year, will host an exclusive live onstage interview and audience Q&A with Mark Schierbecker, the University of Missouri student who shot a viral video circulating the news and web this week. The Q&A will take place on Saturday, November 14 at the Ramada Plaza Hotel and Oasis Convention Center in Springfield at 12:00 noon Central time.
The video received more than 2.5 million views on YouTube in the 36 hours after it was released on Monday afternoon. In it, Mizzou faculty, as well as student demonstrators, are allegedly seen assaulting journalists, including Mr. Schierbecker. The demonstrators were allegedly attempting to forcibly remove the journalists from the area, following an announcement of the news that Mizzou System President Tim Wolfe had resigned. The area, called the Mel Carnahan Quadrangle, is a public area on the state university campus, and one the students had designated a “Safe Space,” with signage ordering media to keep away.
“I want to do what I can to get the real story out there,” said Mark Schierbecker, a photojournalist for the Mizzou student-run newspaper The Maneater. “There are a lot of misconceptions about what happened this week, and a lot of misunderstandings.”
“It’s important that college campuses are a safe and welcoming environment so students can learn,” Schierbecker clarified. “Racism needs to be the main issue here. Fighting racism versus advocating freedom of the press is a false dichotomy, and some people are hijacking what happened to me and other journalists to talk about freedom of the press instead of racism. I want to answer questions about what happened to me, and about speech codes, to make sure at the end of the day, we are working on addressing racism.”
Organizers attempted to offer demonstrators spots on stage to tell their side of the story via Twitter, Facebook, telephone, and in person, but were unsuccessful. If you were a demonstrator present on Monday and are interested in joining Schierbecker in a panel on Saturday, please contact Danielle Muscato at [email protected].
The video is online here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRlRAyulN4o
We’ve placed this on the schedule for 12:00pm–12:30pm for this Saturday and have updated lanyrd to reflect that. We hope that you can all take some time out of your lunch break to attend this special session and witness history in the making.