Who Is Melissa Click? The Mizzou Communications Professor Has Been At The Heart Of The Story


It's been a tumultuous, shocking, and frightening few days for the University of Missouri, where passionate activism has successfully ousted both the college's president, Tim Wolfe, who resigned on Monday, and chancellor R. Bowen Loftin, who will be stepping down into a new role with the school at the start of next year. But there's one more faculty member who's out of a job too, even though she wasn't a target of the protests. So who is Melissa Click, the embattled Mizzou communications professor?

If you've been following this story, odds are you heard about Click at some point. She's the faculty member who was caught on camera requesting "muscle" to "help me get this reporter out of here," in reference to student journalist Mark Schierbecker. It was a moment made all the more inappropriate by the fact that Click served as a courtesy appointment for the university's School of Journalism.

Faculty members requesting physical help booting journalists from a public protest is, suffice to say, not how it's supposed to go. Click reportedly resigned her courtesy appointment Tuesday night, and a prior statement from Mizzou dean David Kurpius clarifies that she never had an active role teaching journalism at the school.

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Click, according to the Columbia Missourian, taught mass media in the school's Communication Department. That's separate from the School of Journalism, and Click never taught there — the "courtesy appointment" simply means that she was approved to review the theses of journalism students. She wasn't actually a journalism professor.

In a statement following the incident, as detailed by The Missourian, Click apologized for her actions:

Photojournalist Tim Tai, who was being filmed by Schierbecker as he was confronted by some of the protesters, accepted the apology. He told The New York Times that he "never had ill will toward her." He also mentioned feeling bad when he heard she'd been getting threatened since the video went viral:

As far as Click's safety goes, The Times reports that Kurpius and University of Missouri law enforcement are aware of the threats against her, and have tightened campus security as a result. There was also a lockdown at the school's Black Cultural Center yesterday as a result of a racist shooting threat made on the social media app YikYak — a suspect has since been arrested in connection to that threat.