The Univ. of Missouri communication professor, Melissa Click, who called for “some muscle” when trying to physically remove a student journalist from covering campus protests in November, was charged with third-degree assault on Monday. Click injected herself into the national story about the racially fuelled protests on the Columbia campus in November, confronting student journalists who were reporting on demonstrations being held on the quad. The penalty for the assault charge Click is facing is 15 days in jail and a fine. Click’s lawyer says she will plead not guilty.
Click faced heavy criticism for first helping block access to student photographer Tim Tai, which was caught on film by another student journalist, Mark Schierbecker. The video of Tai calmly asserting his right to cover the event despite attempts at intimidation by student protesters went viral. In the final seconds of the video, Click turns her attention to Schierbecker, saying: “Hey who wants to help me get this reporter out of here? … I need some muscle over here.”
Click’s role in the already deeply politicized Missouri protests has mobilized state Republican legislators, who have called for her dismissal. In the immediate aftermath of the protests, university system president, Tim Wolfe, and chancellor R. Bowen Loft resigned. Click is still employed by the university.