Only five percent of Mizzou faculty support prof. involved in protests

Over 100 faculty members at the University of Missouri (Mizzou) signed a letter addressed to the school’s president in support of one of their colleagues a day after state lawmakers called for her removal.

Melissa Click, a professor in the communication department at Mizzou, was caught on camera in November asking a student reporter tasked with documenting an on-campus protest to leave. After the student refused to leave, Click took a swing at his camera and called out for “some muscle” to forcibly remove the reporter from the protest.

[RELATED: Lawmakers call for firing of Mizzou prof. involved in student protests]

State Lawmakers were outraged at Click’s involvement in the protest and called her actions “a complete disregard for the First Amendment rights of reporters.”

“As a professor in the School of Journalism, Click’s role should have been to remind students that we must respect the First Amendment rights of all individuals, and that the student reporters there were doing nothing more than their jobs; jobs which are soundly protected by our constitution,” the legislators wrote in a Jan. 4 letter to the Board of Curators at Mizzou.

The day after the protest, Click resigned her courtesy appointment in the journalism school but remains an assistant professor of communication. Lawmakers are now demanding Click be denied tenure and dismissed from her position in the communication department.

“We call on you to remove Click from her current position as assistant professor of mass media in the University’s Department of Communications and to deny her pending application for tenure,” Missouri lawmakers stated in their letter.

In response, a group of faculty members penned a letter to the system president to express their support of Click.

“We wish to state in no uncertain terms our support for Click as a member of the University of Missouri faculty who has earned her position through an outstanding record of teaching and research,” the faculty members wrote.

The letter, with 116 signatures, appears to reveal an overwhelming support of Click from her fellow faculty members. However, of the 2,121 faculty members at Mizzou, the 116 members who signed the letter account for slightly more than five percent of the total faculty. In addition, only three professors from the communication department, the department Click teaches in, signed the letter.

According to the Columbia Missourian, the letter was initially intended to remain internal but was released to the public after lawmakers called for Click’s removal.

Campus Reform reached out to Professor Mitchell McKinney, chair of the communication department, but he declined to comment on the matter.

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