Melissa Click, the University of Missouri assistant professor who was caught on video calling for some “muscle” to remove student journalists from a campus protest “safe space,” was fired yesterday by the school’s board of curators.
Click was charged in January with misdemeanor assault stemming from her confrontation with Mark Schierbecker and Tim Tai during November’s campus protests. In a deal with city prosecutors, Click was given community service but no jail time or fines on the condition that she stay out of trouble for a year.
The board voted to suspend Click with pay on Jan. 27 and yesterday, during a closed session in Kansas City, Mizzou’s board of curators voted 4-2 in favor of her termination.
“The board respects Dr. Click’s right to express her views and does not base this decision on her support for students engaged in protest or their views,” [Board of Curators chairwoman Pam] Henrickson said in the prepared statement. “However, Dr. Click was not entitled to interfere with the rights of others, to confront members of law enforcement or to encourage potential physical intimidation against a student.”
Henrickson’s statement referred to Click’s behavior at a homecoming parade, where she was caught on camera cursing at a police officer, and on Nov. 9 at a “Concerned Student 1950” protest site, where she hollered at the student journalists and tried to grab the video camera out of Schierbecker’s hands. When he refused to leave the media-free “safe space,” Click called for some “muscle” to have him forcibly removed.
Her actions at the protest site, Henrickson said, “when she interfered with members of the media and students who were exercising their rights in a public space and called for intimidation against one of our students, we believe demands serious action.”
The investigators hired by the curators reviewed videos, documents and conducted more than 20 interviews, Henrickson said…
Click’s employment has become a political liability for the university. The House Budget Committee will consider a spending bill next week that cuts $402,000 from the Columbia campus budget — the amount of Click’s salary as well as that of her department chair and the dean of the College of Arts and Science — and $7.6 million from the UM System’s administrative budget.
“She has the right to appeal her termination,” Henrickson said. “The board went to significant lengths to ensure fairness and due process.”