Melissa Click Should Keep Her Job, Mizzou Faculty Supporters Say


University of Missouri Assistant Professor Melissa Click has the support of more than 100 faculty members. - IMAGE VIA YOUTUBE
  • Image via YouTube
  • University of Missouri Assistant Professor Melissa Click has the support of more than 100 faculty members.

Her judgment might be a little spotty, but Mizzou Assistant Professor Melissa “I need some muscle over here” Click should keep her job, according to more than 100 of her colleagues.

Click’s faculty backers distributed a letter of support on Tuesday — the day after a similar number of Missouri Republican legislators called for her to be fired.

“We wish to state in no uncertain terms our support for Click as a member of the University of Missouri faculty who has earned her position through an outstanding record of teaching and research,” Click’s allies wrote.

The assistant communications professor stole the spotlight from protesters — and infuriated GOP legislators — in November when she clashed with student journalists trying to cover on-campus demonstrations. The student protests against racism at the university had led systems President Timothy Wolfe to resign, which attracted widespread news coverage. Click was caught on camera trying to force two students working as journalists away from the student protesters.

“Who wants to help me get this reporter out of here?” Click was recorded saying. “I need some muscle over here.”

Footage of the confrontation quickly went viral and sparked backlash online. Click’s faculty supporters say she’s guilty of “at most a regrettable mistake,” and they note she has apologized.

“However, much of the commentary in the press and on social media has gone beyond legitimate debate to ad hominem attacks on, and harassment of, Click personally, and has even included calls for her dismissal from the University,” they wrote.

The faculty members sent the letter to Mizzou’s leadership on December 14. They decided to release it publicly after legislators called for the university’s administration to boot Click, whom they claim showed “a complete disregard for the First Amendment rights of reporters” during the clash.

“At every turn, Click’s actions were unacceptable and inflammatory in a situation where the students and the public needed and expected university employees to serve professionally and as a calming influence,” state Rep. Caleb Jones, R-Columbia, said in a statement. “It’s imperative that the university act swiftly to remove her from her position.”

Adding fuel to the fire, the legislators noted that Click wasn't even teaching — her "research waiver" allowed her to instead study topics including Twilight and "the Martha Stewart phenomenon."

"Professor Click spent her paid time off from teaching to assault students, harass citizens of Missouri, and work in contravention of the Constitution," the legislators wrote.

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