Missouri professor who sought 'muscle' at protest appeals firing

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 08, 2016 8:16 PM

By Jon Herskovitz

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - The University of Missouri professor fired after being caught on video calling for "some muscle" to have a student journalist removed from a campus protest, appealed her dismissal on Tuesday, saying school governors overstepped their authority.

"In their decision to terminate my employment, the Curators bowed to conservative voices that seek to tarnish my stellar 12-year record at MU," Melissa Click, formerly an assistant professor in the school's communications department, said of the Board of Curators who are the university's governing body.

She added in the statement that the curators were punishing her "for standing with students who have drawn attention to the issue of overt racism at the University of Missouri."

University officials were not immediately available for comment.

Click was fired in February for the incident that took place in November.

In the video, she can be seen calling on protesters during an anti-racism demonstration to remove the reporter and a student photographer from a spot in the school quad that demonstrators had claimed as private space.

"Who wants to help me get this reporter out of here?" Click yells on camera. "I need some muscle over here." Click's hand can be seen blocking the video image at least twice.

The curators have said that while they respected Click's rights to her views, she was not entitled to interfere with the rights of others, confront members of law enforcement or encourage potential physical intimidation against a student.

Prior to her termination, she had been suspended from her position and charged by police with misdemeanor assault.

Under a deferred prosecution agreement in January, she must complete 20 hours of community service work.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Andrew Hay)