The University of Missouri’s interim Chancellor Hank Foley said Sunday night that communications professor Melissa Click has engaged in a “pattern of misconduct” after new footage emerged from an incident in October.
Video posted over the weekend shows Click getting into a confrontation with police a month before her infamous encounter with student journalists during November protests on Mizzou’s campus.
Click received widespread backlash following a Nov. 10 incident in which she blocked the student journalists from entering an area of the campus where protesters were camping. During that November episode, which was caught on camera, Click directed dozens of students to form a human wall to keep the journalists away. She has since been charged with assault and has agreed to community service in exchange for deferred prosecution. The university also suspended her.
On Saturday, the Columbia Missourian published a profile of Click that included footage from police body cameras during the Oct. 10 homecoming parade for the university.
The video shows Click joining student activists who had stopped the vehicle carrying then-MU system president Tim Wolfe. Click hugs the students and then stands between them and the city police trying to keep the activists back from the parade.
“I remember thinking, stupidly, that if as a white person I put myself in front of the students, that maybe they wouldn’t push me,” Click explained to the Missourian.
Click can be heard on the video yelling at the cops, “Get your hands off the children,” and after a moment shouts, “Get your fucking hands off me!”
In his statement Sunday night, Foley characterized this as Click “directing a verbal assault against members of the Columbia Police Department during the homecoming parade.”
“Her conduct and behavior are appalling, and I am not only disappointed, I am angry, that a member of our faculty acted this way,” Foley said. “Her actions caught on camera last October, are just another example of a pattern of misconduct by Dr. Click — most notably, her assault on one of our students while seeking ‘muscle’ during a highly volatile situation on Carnahan Quadrangle in November.”
Foley did not say whether he’ll seek any further sanctions on Click, who is tenured, but said he will “address these new revelations with the Board of Curators,” the university’s governing body.
Missouri state lawmakers have pointed to the university’s response to Click’s actions as a reason for why they are seeking to financially punish Mizzou. Mark Schierbecker, the student who shot the widely seen footage of Click from November, said this weekend, “I think they are using my video as an excuse for the budget cuts they already wanted to make.”
Tyler Kingkade is a national reporter covering higher education, based in New York. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: @tylerkingkade.