Fired professor Melissa Click: I had 'inexperience with public protests'

Melissa Click and the University of Missouri are taking their cases to the court of public opinion.

On the same day the ex-MU assistant communications professor penned a Washington Post defense of her actions – which included assaulting a student journalist and yelling profanities at a police officer – the governing board that fired her pushed back, telling the Association of American University Professors on Thursday that Click’s ouster was demanded because “existing university procedures failed to address the seriousness of [her] conduct.”

Click claims she didn’t get due process before The University of Missouri System’s governing board fired her last month. Her appeal of that decision was rejected Tuesday.

In the Post piece, Click takes responsibility for her actions – which occurred during campus protests over perceived racial inequality at MU – however, she also excuses them as the deeds of someone who had “inexperience with public protests.”

She added, “But I do not understand the widespread impulse to shame those whose best intentions unfortunately result in imperfect actions. What would our world be like if no one ever took a chance? What if everyone played it safe?”

Click said her situation raised “broader cultural, ethical and legal questions about how surveillance and social media significantly impact the terrain of public engagement.”

Her confrontation with a student journalist attempting to cover campus protests in November was caught on the journalist’s camera. Her incident with police in October, at the university’s homecoming parade, was caught on an officer’s bodycam, and the footage was obtained by The Missourian. Both videos quickly made the rounds on social media.

“Whose interests are served when our drive to combat societal imperfections is defeated by fears of having our individual imperfections exposed?” she wrote in The Post.

The AAUP is investigating the circumstances surrounding Click’s firing. The UM board replied to the group’s concerns in a letter, instead of meeting with the association’s three-person investigative committee, The Missourian reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.