Missouri assistant professor resigns from courtesy appointment after confrontation with journalist

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An assistant communications professor at the Missouri School of Journalism resigned from her courtesy appointment Tuesday after she was caught on video confronting a student journalist and attempting to block him from shooting photos on a public quad.

The video, showing University of Missouri protesters and Assistant Professor Melissa Click, was posted on Youtube shortly after University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe resigned following a week of protests after his perceived lack of response to a series of racially-charged incidents.

Click’s courtesy appointment allowed her to serve on graduate panels for students from other academic units, according to the Columbia Missourian. Her position as mass media professor in the Communication Department remains unclear.

Dean of the Missouri School of Journalism David Kurpius announced Click's resignation on his Twitter account late Tuesday.

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Click issued an apology after reviewing the video, saying she “reached out to the journalists involved to offer my sincere apologies and to express regret over my actions.”

“I regret the language and strategies I used, and sincerely apologize to the MU campus community, and journalists at large, for my behavior, and also for the way my actions have shifted attention away from the students’ campaign for justice,” she wrote in her statement.

“From this experience I have learned about humanity and humility. When I apologized to one of the reporters in a phone call this afternoon, he accepted my apology,” Click said. “I believe he is doing a difficult job, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to speak with him.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Kurpius lambasted Click while lauding the photojournalist.

"The Missouri School of Journalism is proud of photojournalism senior Tim Tai for how he handled himself during a protest on Carnahan Quad on the University of Missouri campus," Kurpius said in Tuesday's statement.

"The news media have First Amendment rights to cover public events," Kurpius said. "Tai handled himself professionally and with poise."

Tom Warhover, the executive editor of the Columbia Missourian, a university newspaper, told the Times he was "pretty incensed" about Tai's treatment.

"I find it ironic that particularly faculty members would resort to those kinds of things for no good reason. I understand students who are protesting and want privacy. But they are not allowed to push and assault our photographers -- our student photographers."

Tai told the Los Angeles Times the situation resembled last year's protests in Ferguson, Mo., which he also covered. The only difference, he said, was "it was the police doing it then."

Click for more from The Los Angeles Times.