Image via Mark Schierbecker

Image via Mark Schierbecker

 

In a press conference Monday, Interim Chancellor Hank Foley announced that Assistant Professor Melissa Click will keep her job, saying “we must allow due process to play out.” Click was charged with assault and is currently teaching from home. She will remain an MU faculty member until a decision is made as to whether she will receive tenure. The decision is expected to be made by Aug. 1.  If Click does not receive tenure, she will have one  year to leave MU and find another job, according to Foley.

The UM System’s policy and procedures for promotion and tenure states that the primary criteria for tenure is “outstanding intellectual qualities as reflected in teaching and scholarship.” The committee also evaluates the ways in which a faculty member has served their “department, school, college and the University.”

Foley said that it is “hard to say” how the charge of assault would impact Click’s tenure process, although “it’s something that has to be factored in as this case moves forward.” The charge stems from a video taken by MU journalism student Mark Schierbecker showing a confrontation with Click. In the video, Click can be heard saying, “Who wants to help me get this reporter out of here? I need some muscle over here.”

The video was taken on Monday, Nov. 9 after the Concerned Student 1950 protestors posted signs reading “No Media, Safe Space” around Carnahan Quad. Some journalists chose to respect the protestors’ wishes while others, including Schierbecker and MU student Tim Tai, cited their right under the First Amendment and the Missouri Campus Free Expression Act to cover the protests.

Click released a statement a day after the event apologizing for her actions. She wrote, “I regret the language and strategies I used, and I sincerely apologize to the MU campus community, and journalists at large, for my behavior, and also for the way my actions have shifted attention away from the students’ campaign for justice.”

In December of 2015, a group of more than 100  Missouri House members and 18 members of the Senate urged the MU Board of Curators fire Click. They wrote that Click “failed to meet the obligations she has to her supervisors, fellow professors, University students, and the taxpayers of Missouri… The fact that…she displayed such a complete disregard for the First Amendment rights of reporters should be enough to question her competency and aptitude for her job.”

In response to this call by Missouri lawmakers, more than 115 MU faculty members signed a letter stating, “We wish to state in no uncertain terms our support for [Melissa Click] as a member of the University of Missouri faculty who has earned her position through an outstanding record of teaching and research.”  They called her actions on Nov. 9 a “regrettable mistake” and said that she has been “wronged in the media by those who have attacked her personally and have called for her dismissal.”

According to Interim Chancellor Hank Foley, the letter- which was released before the charge of assault was filed against Click- did not have an impact on the decision to have Click remain in her position as a faculty member at MU.

The administration is currently evaluating whether or not Click will continue to teach from home.

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