By JIM SUHR
(KANSAS CITY, Mo., AP) — The University of Missouri fired an assistant professor on Thursday who had been suspended after run-ins with student journalists during protests last year, including a videotaped confrontation where she called for “some muscle” to remove a videographer from the Columbia campus.
Melissa Click’s actions were “not compatible with university policies and did not meet expectations for a university faculty member,” Pam Henrickson, chairwoman of the University of Missouri System’s Board of Curators, said during a conference call with other top administrators. Henrickson said Click’s conduct demanded “serious action.”
More than 100 state lawmakers had called for the dismissal of the 45-year-old assistant communications professor, who also was recorded on police body camera in October telling police to get their hands off students and cursing at an officer who grabbed her.
Click, who was suspended last month, has said she regretted her actions. A message left with her attorney Thursday wasn’t immediately returned.
A video clip that went viral showed Click calling for “some muscle” to remove a student videographer during protests on Nov. 9 that were spurred by what activists said was administrators’ indifference to racial issues on campus. Click was later charged with misdemeanor assault, but a Columbia prosecutor ultimately agreed to drop the case if Click completed community service.
More recently, police body camera footage was released from the October homecoming parade that shows Click’s confrontation with police. Demonstrators had blocked then-University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe’s vehicle during the parade, and the video shows Click telling police to “get your hands off the children” and cursing at an officer who grabbed her shoulder.
As Columbia police pushed protesters onto the sidewalk, Click hugged students and spoke with them before stepping between Missouri graduate student Jonathan Butler, who later went on a hunger strike, and an officer.
Interim Chancellor Hank Foley said earlier this month that the homecoming parade footage showed a “pattern of misconduct.”
“Her conduct and behavior are appalling, and I am not only disappointed, I am angry, that a member of our faculty acted this way,” he said