Protesters supporting Melissa Click interrupt Mizzou board meeting
“Concerned Students 1950” (CS 1950) staged several protests around the University of Missouri (Mizzou) campus Thursday in support of Professor Melissa Click, even interrupting a meeting of the UM System Board of Curators.
During their march to the Board meeting, members met in Speakers Circle for their first demonstration, during which they turned their signs inward to avoid camera attention, even telling a reporter to stop recording.
Later, the protesters disrupted the Board of Curators meeting by standing outside the T.O. Wright Room in the Reynolds Alumni Center, where the Board was meeting to discuss finances. CS 1950 members stood in front of the entrance to the room with their arms linked to form a human chain, holding signs saying, “Wake up!” and other statements in support of Melissa Click, who has been suspended for attempting to forcibly remove two student journalists from a public protest last year.
The protesters shouted their demands at the meeting, which include programs to increase retention rates for marginalized students, and to increase of the amount of black faculty on the Mizzou campus to 10 percent by the 2017-18 school year. Afterward, they began chanting, “If we don’t get it, shut it down!”
One student said, “I stand with Melissa Click because she stood by her morals,” while another asked rhetorically, “How would you feel if you went somewhere and nobody looked like you?”
“When reporters were there abusing us and overstepping, Melissa was there to protect us,” yet another student chimed in.
David Steelman of the Board of Curators said he was happy to hear from them, and that he didn’t consider it an interruption.
The demonstration at the meeting was followed by a march to the Student Center, during which the chants of “If we don’t get it, shut it down!” were repeated as they progressed to the Multicultural Center on the lower level of the building.
One student held a sign that read, “Ain’t Nobody messin’ with my Click!” and stood at the door of the Multicultural Center, presumably blocking it from media.
During their various movements throughout the day, they encouraged their members to whisper so the cameras around could not hear their plans.
At one point, they even interfered with Mark Schierbecker, the very student journalist who captured Prof. Click on video calling for “muscle” to remove him and another journalist as they tried to cover the protests on campus last year.
They concluded their protest in the lower level of the Student Center, and it remains uncertain if they will demonstrate on Feb. 5, the second day of the Board of Curators meeting.
Thursday’s protests come in the wake of the resignation of the only two black Board of Curators members: Yvonne Sparks left her post on January 27, followed on February 1 by David Steward. Both attributed their resignations to a desire to pursue new opportunities.
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