Remember Melissa Click? In November, we reported on the professor from the University of Missouri, who clashed with a student journalist during an anti-racism protest in November of last year. Click was captured on video shoving the student’s camera away and screaming out for “muscle” to help forcibly eject the student.
According to USA Today on Jan. 30, Click has “entered a deferred prosecution agreement that calls for her to do 20 hours of community service and not break any laws over the next year.” As long as Click completes the deal, the city of Missouri agreed not to seek prosecution against her charge of simple assault, which could put her in jail for 15 days.
Click was at the school assisting the activist group Concerned Student 1950. The group was protesting the treatment of African Americans by administrators.
In the video, seen here in its entirety, the student, identified as Mark Schierbecker, had filmed a group of individuals shoving another student journalist, Tim Tai. Schierbecker then calmly asks Click if he could speak to her on camera. Click repeatedly tells him he needs to “get out.” After informing her that he has a right to cover the event, she walks a few paces away and screams out, “Hey who wants to help me get this reporter out of here? I need some muscle over here!”
Janna Basler, the assistant director for Greek life and leadership at MU, was also seen in the video bullying Tim Tai, walking into him and forcing him backwards. Basler was later put on administrative leave.
After the incident went vial, Click resigned from her post at the school, held as a “courtesy appointment.” Despite calls for her to be sacked outright, Click remains on paid suspension while the University’s Board of Curators continues its investigation. She is three years away from her tenure status.
“Based on the facts of this case, I believe this disposition to be appropriate,” commented city prosecutor Stephen Richey regarding the ruling. “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.”
Adds USA Today: “Republican lawmakers in the state have scoffed at the university for how they went about handling the incident, which came as the university was embroiled in protests over race relations on campus that had captured national attention after one black student went on a hunger strike and dozens of black football players went on strike. More than 100 GOP state legislators have called on the university to fire the assistant professor.”
Mark Schierbecker said the charge and resultant ruling doesn’t address the fact Click trampled on the Constitution. “I think the criminal charges don’t get into the heart of the matter of what she did, which was a First Amendment violation,” Schierbecker said.
Concerned Student 1950 issued a statement, supporting Click: “It is unfortunate that Melissa Click has become the victim of social and political violence,” the group said, according to the Kansas City Star. “Click is a white woman, professor and ally who supported historically marginalized students at the University of Missouri during a time when students were exposing the institution for preserving racism.”
It seems Melissa Click was protesting one social injustice, while simultaneously engaging in another.