Education

Lawmakers Demand Firing Of Mizzou Professor Who Attacked Journalist

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Blake Neff Reporter

Over 100 Republican lawmakers in Missouri signed a letter to University of Missouri (MU) administrators asking them to fire Melissa Click, the communications professor who attacked a journalist during an on-campus protests in November.

The incident occurred the day MU president Tim Wolfe stepped down after protests that he hadn’t done enough to address racial issues on campus. A student journalist attempted to cover a gathering of protesters on the school’s central green, but was aggressively harassed by Click. Click said he wasn’t allowed to cover the protest, formed a cordon to keep him away, and called for “muscle” to force him back. (RELATED: The Nine Most Preposterous Parts Of Melissa Click’s Absurd Resume)

“The fact that, as a professor teaching in the communication department and school of journalism, she displayed such a complete disregard for the First Amendment rights of reporters should be enough to question her competency and aptitude for her job,” the letter says. “It should be evident that these actions are inappropriate, illegal and unacceptable for a faculty member of the University of Missouri.”

Besides attacking Click’s behavior, the letter also criticizes her academic pursuits as a communications professor.

“The public spotlight that is now shining on Click because of her behavior has also revealed some of the ‘research’ she is conducting at the University,” it says. “Our constituents have expressed outrage at the fact she is using taxpayer dollars to conduct research on ’50 Shades of Grey,’ ‘Lady Gaga,’ and ‘Twilight’ … What is even more insulting is that Professor Click was on a research waiver from the University of Missouri so that she didn’t have to teach classes.”

Click does not have tenure, so dismissing her would be relatively easy if school officials are willing to do so.

The letter was signed by over 100 GOP members of the Missouri House of Representatives and 17 members of the Senate. In addition to demanding Click’s dismissal, the letter also calls for the firing of Janna Basler, MU’s assistant director of Greek Life, who assisted Click by blocking a student journalist from approaching protesters. Basler was placed on leave following the incident.

The letter’s release comes nearly two months after the incident in question, but State Rep. Caleb Jones told USA Today that lawmakers had been collecting signatures the whole time. The letter was released Monday because they had amassed over 100 signatures by that time.

MU has thus far declined to comment on the lawmakers’ request.

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