Melissa Click cut a deal with local authorities Friday in which she will perform community service to avoid an assault charge and possible time behind bars.
Click is the University of Missouri (MU) communications professor who famously attacked a student journalist trying to cover a campus demonstration in November 2015. Click grabbed at the student’s camera, claimed he wasn’t allowed to be at the public protest, and when he refused to leave, called for “muscle” to force him out. Columbia police charged Click with misdemeanor assault Monday, which could have sent her to jail for 15 days.
But now, under the deal announced Friday, Click will perform 20 hours of community service, and in return local prosecutors will defer the assault charge. If Click completes her service, and doesn’t violate the law again for a year, the charge will be allowed to drop.
“Based on the facts of this case, I believe this disposition to be appropriate,” Columbia prosecutor Stephen Richey said in the statement. “This disposition is in keeping with my office’s handling of dozens of similar Municipal cases and adequately serves the interest of justice by ensuring the defendant will not engage in similar conduct.”
For now, Click is still suspended by the University of Missouri, pending a review of her long-term future. Many, including over 100 members of the Missouri legislature, have called for Click to be fired. Previously, the university has indicated that Click’s job is safe at least until the conclusion of her tenure review at the end of July.
Click has been defended by Concerned Student 1950, the group of activists that in November successfully drove president Tim Wolfe from office. The group recently released a statement comparing the suspension of Click with Ku Klux Klan violence.
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