The Corner

Culture

Melissa Click Learns That Academic Freedom Does Not Include the Right to Assault Students

The University of Missouri has fired Melissa Click:

Last week, the Board of Curators received the investigative report detailing the relevant facts surrounding recent conduct by MU assistant professor, Dr. Melissa Click. On January 27, the board authorized an investigation so it could determine whether additional discipline for Dr. Click was appropriate.

Investigators reviewed relevant documents, materials and video recordings, as well as interviewed more than 20 witnesses. Dr. Click was interviewed twice and was represented by counsel on both occasions. When Dr. Click identified witnesses that she thought were relevant, the investigators interviewed – or attempted to interview – each of those witnesses and included their information in the report.

On February 12, Dr. Click was provided a complete copy of the report of the investigation, which included all documents, videos and witness statements gathered during the investigation and was offered the opportunity to submit a written response. Her response was received on February 19, after which the board received the report from investigators, including Dr. Click’s response.

After reviewing the report and Dr. Click’s response, and, after extensive discussion, the board voted last night in executive session to terminate the employment of Dr. Click. She has the right to appeal her termination. The board went to significant lengths to ensure fairness and due process for Dr. Click.

Click, as readers no doubt recall, achieved notoriety during the hysterical Missouri race protests when she allegedly assaulted a student reporter, demanding “muscle” to help her remove the reporter from an open area on campus. Once again, here is the video:

Incredibly, 115 of her colleagues signed a letter supporting her and actually called on the university to defend “her First Amendment rights of protest.” News flash — neither the First Amendment nor the most expansive interpretation of academic freedom grants professors the right to assault students. Her actions were antithetical to free expression. While the university was deciding her case, yet another video surfaced showing her cursing at police at a different protest.

To be sure, Click was entitled to due process, and one can’t judge from the university’s statement whether it followed the required procedure (given her defiance and level of faculty of support, the university would have to be idiotic to violate her due process rights — but universities frequently do stupid things.) At the same time, however, it’s difficult to imagine an equivalent number of professors writing a letter in support of a conservative who assaulted a student to protect, say, a Young America’s Foundation event.

The university is losing student applicants, and it’s losing millions in donations. This termination is the first evidence that Missouri is finally (and painfully) beginning to grow a spine. 

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