University of Missouri Suspends Melissa Click Following Assault ChargeBy Russell Westerholm
The University of Missouri's Board of Curators held a special meeting Wednesday night at which they decided to suspend Melissa Click.
A communications professor at MU, Click is charged with assaulting a student who was trying to videotape demonstrations on campus Nov. 9 following Tim Wolfe's resignation at the school system's president. The MU board met two days after the city prosecutor announced the charge of simple assault against Click, The Associated Press reported.
"MU Professor Melissa Click is suspended pending further investigation," Pam Henrickson, chair of the UM Board of Curators, said in a statement. "The Board of Curators directs the General Counsel, or outside counsel selected by General Counsel, to immediately conduct an investigation and collaborate with the city attorney and promptly report back to the Board so it may determine whether additional discipline is appropriate."
Interim Chancellor Hank Foley gave the school's "State of the University" address earlier Wednesday and the school would let "due process play out," The AP previously reported. Click had started proceedings for tenure in Sept. and, while Foley said the assault charge would have some sort of bearing on that process, he emphasized that she would not be fired before it is resolved.
Mark Schierbecker filmed Click barring him from a portion of the campus where students were demonstrating. In addition to grabbing him and blocking his camera, she called for "some muscle" to help move him back.
"The university seems to care more about protecting their own despotic faculty than looking after the welfare of its students," Schierbecker told The Washington Post.
Students at MU were unhappy with Wolfe's perceived indifference to complaints of racism some of the school's black students were trying to bring to his attention. One in particular, Jonathan Butler, was on hunger strike calling for Wolfe's resignation. The day after the MU football team announced it would boycott all its official activities, including games, until Butler ended his hunger strike, Wolfe resigned.
The Columbia Daily Tribune published a letter from Wolfe to an undisclosed group of people he addressed simply as "friends." In the letter, Wolfe was highly critical of several people and groups at MU including Chancellor Bowen Loftin, the football team, and the Board of Curators.
"As I stated in my last email, I resigned out of love for MU and the rest of the system and I felt that it was the right thing to do at the time to prevent further embarrassment and a potential Ferguson-like event on the MU Campus," Wolfe wrote. "What I haven't shared with you or the general public is the series of events and circumstances and specific unconscionable behaviors that led to my resignation. Because there has been no resolution."