COLUMBIA, Mo. — The University of Missouri Board of Curators has fired assistant professor Melissa Click.
Click is the embattled professor who faced nationwide backlash after being caught on camera harassing a student journalist during protests on the university campus in November.
In the video, Click was seen yelling at a student journalist and calling on people around her to bring in "some muscle" to help remove the reporters.
Earlier in January, University of Missouri faculty members voiced their support of Click in a letter.
The faculty made public a letter of support that had been sent in December to university leadership after more than 100 Republican Missouri lawmakers and 18 members of the Senate Majority Caucus called for Melissa Click's firing.
In a signed letter, the lawmakers wrote "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. 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. Instead, Professor Click's comments served to inflame an already caustic situation that was clearly out of line."
Lawmakers urged the Board, Interim President Mike Middleton and Interim Chancellor Hank Foley to take immediate actions to address Click's actions, and send a strong message that the leadership "can and will act quickly and decisively to root out bad behavior".
The whole situation continued to escalate after a member of the UM Board of Curators called for Click to be fired.
Curator David Steelman of Rolla described Melissa Click as "an embarrassment."
But speaking before a meeting, Steelman noted that he's not chairman of the board and isn't able to put her continued employment on a future agenda.
The City of Columbia filed a third-degree assault charge against Click on Monday, to which she pleaded not guilty.
Click was suspended in late January, pending further investigation.
The Board authorized an investigation to determine whether it additional discipline for Click was appropriate.
Two weeks after being suspended, a new video surfaced, showing Click in a confrontation with Columbia Police during the Mizzou Homecoming Parade.
(Be warned - the video below has graphic language.)
Interim University of Missouri Chancellor Hank Foley released a statement on Sunday, February 14th saying:
I am not only disappointed, I am angry, that a member of our faculty acted this way. 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. We must have high expectations of members of our community, and I will address these new revelations with the Board of Curators as they work to complete their own review of the matter.
A statement issued Thursday afternoon says that last week, the Board of Curators received the report, and reviewed the relevant documents, materials, and video recordings, along with hearing testimony from more than 20 witnesses.
Dr. Click was interviewed twice, and was represented by counsel on both occasions.
Click was provided a complete copy of the report on February 12, and was offered the opportunity to submit a written response.
After reviewing the report and Click's response, the board voted 4-2 Wednesday night in favor of terminating Click during a closed session in Kansas City.
Their statement reads as follows:
The board believes that Dr. Click's conduct was not compatible with university policies and did not meet expectations for a university faculty member. The circumstances surrounding Dr. Click's behavior, both at a protest in October when she tried to interfere with police officers who were carrying out their duties, and at a rally in November, when she interfered with members of the media and students who were exercising their rights in a public space and called for intimidation against one of our students, we believe demands serious action.
The board respects Dr. Click's right to express her views and does not base this decision on her support for students engaged in protest or their views. However, Dr. Click was not entitled to interfere with the rights of others, to confront members of law enforcement or to encourage potential physical intimidation against a student.
The release issued on Thursday says Click has the right to appeal her termination.
Here's the timeline of events, as provided by the University of Missouri System:
October 10, 2015 - Dr. Click blocks Homecoming parade and gets into confrontation with CPD
November 9, 2015 - Click attempts to exclude people from public spaces on Carnahan Quadrangle; attempts to prohibit Tim Tai and other media from covering event; knocks MU student Mark Schierbecker's camera ajar and calls for "muscle" to remove him from area
January 25, 2016 - City Prosecutor brings charge against Click for assaulting Schierbecker
January 27, 2016 - Board of Curators suspends Click and orders investigation to determine whether additional discipline is appropriate
January 28, 2016 - Bryan Cave law firm commences investigation
February 4, 2016 - Board of Curators schedules a meeting for February 24, 2016
February 12, 2016 - Bryan Cave completes investigation and provides investigative report to Click for response
February 19, 2016 - Click provides response to investigative report
February 20, 2016 - Investigative report and Click's response provided to board of curators
February 22, 2016 - Public Notice of board meeting for February 24, 2016
February 24, 2016 - Board meeting and vote
February 25, 2016 - Announcement of decision to fire Click
The University System has provided access to the complete report and accompanying documents, which we have included here: