January 27, 2016

A QUANTUM OF ACCOUNTABILITY: Mizzou professor who called for ‘muscle’ suspended.

A University of Missouri assistant professor who has faced an avalanche of criticism after she was caught on video calling for “some muscle” to help her eject a student journalist at a protest site on campus has been suspended from her duties, the University of Missouri System Board of Curators announced Wednesday.

The decision to suspend Melissa Click came two days after the Columbia, Mo. city prosecutor’s office announced it had filed a misdemeanor simple assault charge against the department of communication professor. The charge relates to the Nov. 9 incident on campus that captured national attention.

“MU Professor Melissa Click is suspended pending further investigation,” said Pam Henrickson, chairwoman of the Board of Curators, which governs the four University of Missouri campuses. “The Board of Curators directs the General Counsel, or outside counsel selected by General Counsel, to immediately conduct an investigation and collaborate with the city attorney and promptly report back to the Board so it may determine whether additional discipline is appropriate.”

Melissa Click faces a Class C misdemeanor simple assault charge for the incident, in which she was filmed having physical contact and berating a student journalist. The student was trying to conduct interviews at a site set up on the university’s flagship campus in Columbia by students protesting the treatment of African Americans by administrators.

A video of the confrontation, which was taken by student journalist Mark Schierbecker and went viral on the Internet, begins with a group of protesters yelling and pushing another student journalist, Tim Tai, who was trying to photograph the campsite. At the end of the video, Schierbecker approaches Click, who calls for “some muscle” to remove him from the protest area. She then appears to grab at Schierbecker’s camera.

Click, who will continue to be paid during her suspension, was at the protest site as an ally of the activist group Concerned Student 1950, which mounted weeks of protests on campus. Those protests culminated with the firing of University of Missouri system president and the chancellor of the university’s Columbia campus.

It will be interesting to see if there’s a greater penalty down the line.

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