Weeks after two University of Missouri employees were caught on video trying to force student journalists from a protest about the campus racial climate, Republican lawmakers in the state are trying to force the women from their jobs.
The Columbia Missourian reports that more than a hundred state representatives and 18 senators, all Republicans, have signed a letter urging that the university fire Melissa A. Click, an assistant professor of communication, and Janna Basler, assistant director of Greek life, for their treatment of the student journalists during the November 9 event.
Concerned Student 1950, the student group calling for increased awareness of campus racial tensions, had posted signs asking reporters to stay away from an encampment of protesters on the Columbia campus’s main quad. The video shows the women confronting the journalists.
“Hey, who wants to help me get this reporter out of here?” Ms. Click shouts, after the reporter refuses to leave. “I need some muscle over here!”
A day after the protest, Ms. Click and Ms. Basler both apologized for their behavior, and Ms. Click resigned a courtesy appointment in the School of Journalism. She remains an assistant professor in the department of communication.
The lawmakers’ letter, dated December 18, calls on the university’s interim chancellor and governing board to “take immediate action to address the inappropriate and criminal actions” of Ms. Click during the protest.
“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 states. “Instead, Professor Click’s comments served to inflame an already caustic situation that was clearly out of line.”
The letter goes further, raising questions about Ms. Click’s research, which her faculty page says is “guided by audience studies, theories of gender and sexuality, and media literacy,” and involves fans of such pop-culture ephemera as Lady Gaga and 50 Shades of Grey.
A spokesman said the university doesn’t comment on personnel matters.
Correction (1/5/2016, 1:38 p.m.): This post originally referred inconsistently to Ms. Click’s faculty position. She is an assistant professor, not an associate professor. The post has been updated to reflect this correction.