The University of Missouri Board of Curators on Thursday fired a communications professor who was captured on video scrapping with a police officer and a student journalist during campus protests last year.
The board voted 4-2 in favor of firing Assistant Professor of Communication Melissa Click, who had been suspended with pay from the school since Jan. 27.
Click has the right to appeal the 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,” said Chairwoman Pam Henrickson, who voted against Click’s termination, in a statement viewed by The Columbia Tribune. “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.”
Click entered the public eye in November when video surfaced of her arguing with a student journalist covering campus protests regarding perceived racial issues. In that video, Click appears to grab the journalist’s camera and then requests “muscle” to help get the journalist to leave the area. A second video, taken during an Oct. 10 Homecoming Parade, surfaced earlier this month after The Columbia Missourian obtained police body camera footage of the event. In that tape, Click forces herself between a police officer and campus activists who had been blocking the parade route, telling the officers to “get your hands off the children.”
She was charged with misdemeanor assault resulting from the November skirmish, but prosecutors said they would drop the charge in a year if Click completed community service.
University of Missouri Interim Chancellor Hank Foley praised the board’s decision.
"The process the Board of Curators used to reach a determination about Dr. Click’s employment at the university is not typical — but these have been extraordinary times in our university’s history, and I am in complete agreement with the board that the termination of Dr. Click is in the best interest of our university,” Foley wrote in a statement obtained by The Missourian. “Her actions in October and November are those that directly violate the core values of our university. I can assure you — as Board Chairwoman Henrickson noted — that there has been fairness in this process and investigation.”
But not everyone was pleased.
In interviews with The Missourian, Faculty Council Chair and law professor Ben Trachtenberg called the decision to fire Click “terrible” and Faculty Council member Angela Speck said it was “ridiculous that she should be fired without due process.”
Click attempted to justify her actions during an interview with FOX 2 earlier this month, however, she admitted she had “made mistakes.”
“But my intention was to, like other faculty and staff, to support a student group that was expressing that they had been excluded from MU, the MU community,” she said.
Click was not able to be reached for comment Thursday by numerous publications.