Gonzaga University Hires Fired Missouri Professor Melissa Click

screen-shot-2016-02-16-at-6-48-41-amWe have previously discussed the controversy surrounding University of Missouri Assistant Professor of Communication Melissa Click who was caught on videotape obstructing a student journalist and calling for “muscle” to prevent him from covering a protest. She was charged with assault in that case.  Eventually she was sacked by Missouri in what should have been one of the easiest decisions ever made by an educational institution.  Now however Gonzaga University has given Click another faculty position, a move that is likely to result  in considerable controversy. The effort to “muscle” a student journalist and keep him from reporting on a protest is viewed by many academics as unpardonable, particularly in a market filled with people trying to secure jobs in higher education.

The appointment of Click is likely to infuriate many faculty, particularly in journalism schools. It was not just Click’s conduct generally at the protest but her encouraging students to move against a student journalist.  Click confronted videographer Mark Schierbecker during a campus protest on Nov. 9 and appeared to block him from covering the event. When Schierbecker asks to speak with Professor Click, she tells him “No, you need to get out” and appears to grab Schierbecker’s camera. “You need to get out. You need to get out.” When the student journalist refused to leave, Click yells to a group of nearby demonstrators: “Who wants to help me get this reporter out of here? I need some muscle over here.”

A later videotape has emerged showing Click yelling profanities at police officers who were trying to clear protestors blocking traffic on campus.  Many academics viewed her effort to silence a journalist and her conduct at protests to be anathema for any academic.

Nevertheless, Elisabeth Mermann-Jozwiak, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Gonzaga, said that they still viewed Click as a good hire despite her history.  She was given a one-year, non-tenure track position as a lecturer in the university’s communication studies department.

The school insists that “We are confident she has learned much from her experiences at the University of Missouri and believe she will uphold the rigorous standards of academic excellence demanded of Gonzaga faculty and students.”

For her part, Click said that she valued her 12 years at Missouri and learned from her recent experience. 

From the perspective of Gonzaga, the poor decisions of Click cannot doom her to a lifetime outside of the academy.  For others, her actions are mortal not venal sins for an academic.

What do you think?

75 thoughts on “Gonzaga University Hires Fired Missouri Professor Melissa Click

  1. Click was treated very unfairly at the University of Missouri. She was contrite for her lapse in judgment which was very brief and, as a practical matter, of little significance. Yet a cell phone video made her the target of relentless right wing bashing and attacks demanding an entirely disproportionate punishment in relation to her transgression. The entire affair at Mizzou was a melodramatic and sensationalized event. Click was a victim. Collateral damage if you will. She didn’t deserve to be fired and certainly should not be made into a pariah for making a stupid mistake that harmed no one. And that’s all she really did. In the long run, she’s far better off at Gonzaga than being stuck in the horrible cow town of Columbia, MO.

    • Surely you must be joking. Contrite? Are you sober? Ah yes, play the poor victim card. What BS. Did you see the video where she confronted police who were just doing their job in clearing the street? STRIKE 2!
      A stupid mistake that harmed no one??? What the hell is an ASSAULT? If you assaulted, please don’t cry and call the police. Just consider it a stupid mistake that harmed no one. And to think you have the right to vote!
      Wanna know why this country has gone to hell? Ask no more.

  2. Add Gonzaga to the long and growing list of schools the progeny shall not attend.

    Let’s review the aftermath of Melissa Click’s experiment with censorship and strong-arm tactics against students she’s ostensibly supposed to teach:
    * issued a lukewarm apology blaming the victims, only after the viral video gained momentum
    + “My actions were shaped by exasperation with a few spirited reporters.”
    * charged with third-degree assault
    * pleaded out in exchange for community service and probation
    * the poster girl for a reduction in enrollment of 23% at UM and an accompanying $32,000,000 in losses the state of Missouri can’t afford to lose

    One editorial stated “I don’t know which is more incredible — that a Missouri professor with an appointment in the journalism school was urging mob violence against a photojournalist,” commented Miami Herald columnist Glenn Garvin, “or that a Missouri professor was urging mob violence against a student.”

    Care to rethink this decision Gonzaga? Your endowment sits at $186 million. She could chew through that with another ‘protest’ or two. You could pay (Gonzaga men’s basketball coach) Mark Few’s salary for another 23 years with the money she’s cost Missouri.

  3. It seems her actions speak to the core of her beliefs and weren’t some spontaneous, momentary lapse of judgement. So I don’t think it was wise for Gonzaga to hire her or reasonable for them to think she `learned her lesson’.

    I don’t think she should be branded for life as anti-free speech or not qualified to teach moving forward. I just think it’s too soon for any meaningful change in believe to have occurred.

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