Missouri lawmakers: Fire professor who wanted 'muscle' against journalist

Story highlights

  • "Click's actions were unacceptable and inflammatory," lawmakers said
  • Click was caught on camera attempting to remove a student reporter from public property attempting to cover campus protests for ESPN

Washington (CNN)More than 100 Missouri Republican lawmakers are calling for the firing of a University of Missouri professor who was caught on video last fall calling for "muscle" to bar a student journalist from the site of an on-campus protest.

Melissa Click, an assistant professor, was caught on camera at a November protest trying to remove a student reporter from public property who was attempting to cover campus protests over racial discrimination.
"Who wants to help me get this reporter out of here?" she said in a video. "I need some muscle over here."
    The video went viral and sparked a discussion about free speech on campus. Click later apologized and resigned her courtesy appointment with the university's school of journalism, though she remains employed as an assistant professor of mass media at the university's school of communications.
    In November, police at the university considered whether to file assault charges against Click. Reached by CNN on Tuesday, campus police referred a CNN inquiry to the Columbia, Missouri, prosecutor's office, which said it had not yet decided whether to file charges against Click.
    But that's not good enough, according to some members of the Missouri House of Representatives and Senate Majority Caucus, who have called on the University of Missouri Board of Curators to fire Click.
    "As a professional representing our University, Click failed to meet the obligations she has to her supervisors, fellow professors, University students, and the taxpayers of Missouri," lawmakers wrote in a letter. "As an academic professional, her first goal should have been to promote a safe and stable learning environment for all students, and to represent the University to the public in a way that strengthens the image of our flagship state institution of higher education."
    The letter added: "The university now has the opportunity to send a strong message that leadership can and will act quickly and decisively to root out bad behavior. We urge you to do so immediately."
    "At every turn, Click's actions were unacceptable and inflammatory in a situation where the students and the public needed and expected university employees to serve professionally and as a calming influence," State Rep. Caleb Jones added in a press release. "It's imperative that the university act swiftly to remove her from her position."
    Messages left with Click and the University of Missouri were not immediately returned Tuesday afternoon.