COLUMBIA, Mo. – A group of over 100 Republican members of the General Assembly have signed letters submitted to the University of Missouri Board of Curators asking for the firing of Prof. Melissa Click after her role in the Concerned Student 1950 protests Nov. 2015.
Click achieved a level of notoriety across the state and nation in some circles after she denied student photographer Tim Tai, who was on a freelance assignment for ESPN, from taking pictures of the proceedings. Many decried her methods as intimidation of a journalist who was simply trying to cover a newsworthy event.
The letter states, “The fact that… she displayed such a complete disregard for the First Amendment rights of reporters should be enough to question her competence and aptitude for her job… Instead, Professor Click assaulted a student videographer by grabbing his camera, and called on those around her to bring in ‘some muscle’ to help remove the reporters. It should be evident that these actions are inappropriate, illegal and unacceptable for a faculty member of the University of Missouri.”
Click has since apologized, both personally to Tai and to the community at large, and resigned from her courtesy appointment to MU’s School of Journalism, but she is still employed by the university as a professor in the communications department .
Rep. Caleb Jones and Sen. Kurt Schaefer, two Republicans from Columbia, hope their letters put a stop to that.
“At every turn, Click’s actions were unacceptable and inflammatory in a situation where the students and the public needed and accepted university employees to serve professionally and as a calming influence,” Jones wrote in a statement. “It’s imperative that the university act swiftly to remove her from her position.”
Schaefer believes the University should have already taken action.
“I expect more out of the faculty and staff at the University of Missouri-Columbia,” he said. The actions of… Click were unacceptable and inflammatory in nature, the university needs educators who display civility and patience even during emotional moments.”