- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 25, 2016

The University of Missouri professor who was suspended and charged with assaulting a student journalist during campus protests last year was fired Thursday by the University of Missouri board of curators.

The board, which voted Jan. 27 to suspend Melissa Click with pay over that incident, voted 4-2 in favor of firing her outright in the wake of a newly surfaced video that shows her swearing at police trying to clear activists from blocking traffic.

In the first video, which went viral on YouTube and made her notorious, Ms. Click angrily asks “who wants to help me get this reporter out of here? I need some muscle here” at a protest during the November campus upheaval over race that led to the resignation of the university and the system’s chancellor.

“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,” Chairwoman Pam Henrickson, who opposed the move, said in the prepared statement. “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.”

The statement from Ms. Henrickson cited the new video, which shows Ms. Click telling police to “back off” and “get your [expletive] hands off me” during an Oct. 10 homecoming parade.

Ms. Click has said she regrets her actions and wanted only to protect the students. She was at the time an assistant professor in the communications department who held a courtesy appointment with the school’s highly regarded journalism school.

She lost her post at the journalism school soon after the first video surfaced. The video showed her trying to cover the camera lens with her hand and scoffing “that’s a really good one” at Mark Schierbecker, who correctly noted that he was on public property. She also was charged with misdemeanor assault, though those charges will be dismissed if she completes community service.

State Rep. Chuck Basye, a Republican, praised the move.

“Everybody that I talked to said it would be a step in the right direction and would show some leadership,” he said Thursday. “I firmly believe she should have been terminated after the first video.”

In a statement explaining her actions, Ms. Click challenged the fairness of the board’s investigation.

“While some would judge me by a short portion of videotape, I do not think that this is a fair way to evaluate these events,” Ms. Click wrote in a five-page statement released with the investigative report. “Those videotaped moments (for which I have formally and publicly apologized) deserve to be understood in a wider frame of reference, among all of the momentous events of the fall semester.”

She argued that the tense situation at the homecoming parade was not characterized fairly in the report.

“The scene I encountered included older, mostly male, white adults from the crowd using their hands and bodies to move the protesters so the parade could pass by them,” she wrote. “I heard angry and threatening language, including swear words directed at the students. … I felt that someone should step in to support and protect these MU students.”

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