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. I agree with Stein, the debates should be opened up to all four candidates.

    I don’t agree however, with her labeling Donald Trump, an establishment candidate.

  2. She is a small fry who rates zero concern. Her new job is nothing to brag about. I am a lot more concerned about lawyers such a Yoo who wound up at a top law school despite his past record which spits in the face of ALL concepts of law and resulted in actual WAR CRIMES being committed. So while what she did is bad, it doesn’t even come close to what other so called law profs have done. Those crooked lawyers need to be in the dock at the ICC in the Hague, and if found guilty, be serving a long jail sentence so that they can no longer do any damage. How about going on a campaign to clean house in the top law schools Prof?

    1. I am a lot more concerned about lawyers such a Yoo who wound up at a top law school despite his past record which spits in the face of ALL concepts of law and resulted in actual WAR CRIMES being committed.

      He committed no war crimes outside of your imagination. He offered a legal opinion regarding the extent of the president’s authority over certain matters, and that is all.

  3. Perhaps Gonzaga can use the meme “We need some muscle over here” in its recruiting drive for the wrestling team.

    1. I agree with Stein, the debates should be opened up to all four candidates.

      I don’t agree however, with her labeling Donald Trump, an establishment candidate.

  4. Gonzaga would be better served if it incorporated risk management into its hiring practices. I agree she will eventually return to her misbehavior.

    If she pulls a stunt like she did with the student journalist, Gonzaga’s best choice would be to open the wallet and hand it to the plaintiff. Not only because of the obvious tort cause of action but a jury pool from Spokane would not be sympathetic to her.

  5. Why do we need Journalism School and reading today press what will they teach. You got to be kidding the New York Times last week had a 50 page newspaper with 5 advertisements. That did not pay for the ink.
    Using the NYT as an example journalism is DEAD. They are so so Clinton its impossible to read the editorial page and comment columns. Where will that journalism school U of M sent these people to the Huffington Post?
    One last thing why is it in American no one should get a second chance? She in the heat of the moment lost it. Of course none of us have, have we ?And if so did you get a second change. We are human and humans make mistakes should that be the end or see if the has learned and grown. We can’t tell unless we allow her that second chance

    1. She screamed and cursed at police officers too. I bet there are more that we don’t know about.

      This is an example of elitism at its finest. There are thousands of teachers who would love the job this woman takes for granted. But she wouldn’t be hired at a public school, not with an assault charge.

      Shame on Gonzaga! Give that job to a much more deserving person.

    2. “One last thing why is it in American no one should get a second chance? She in the heat of the moment lost it. ”

      A number of responders here have claimed that Click acted in the heat of the moment.

      I don’t think the facts support that view. Her actions took place over at least two different incidents. Further, I believe she has made public comments justifying her actions. That does not sound like a regretted action to me. That sounds like she is fully committed to her actions.

      This country is usually generous granting second chances to those with all sorts of problems. But does it really make sense to give a second chance to someone who remains committed to their previous activity?

      Does it make sense to give a second chance to a bank robber who announces a commitment to a life of crime? Do we continue to give loans to scofflaw who remains committed to not paying the bills? Do we give a second chance to a politician who continues to lie and vote against our interest – OK, two out of three?

      The question is has Click changed or has she simply found a happier home for herself?

      I suppose that for now only Click and the Gonzaga hiring committee know whether her time at Missouri has given her insight to change or greater commitment to her anti democratic bully boy tactics.

      I am going to go out on a limb and guess that it won’t take long for Click to reveal her true self for journalists and all of us to see.

      1. BFM, good post. You may be right. I’m sure Gonzaga has some vetting process? Or, maybe she’s the vice-chancellor’s cousin-in-law. I’d have to reserve judgment until I know more facts, though. Second chances are given to murder perps. I think an academic should have the same opportunity if the school believes she won’t act like an idiot again.

    3. You know, I could ‘almost’ believe you’re sincere in your “in the heat of the moment” conclusive comment. But if you didn’t know about her run in with police, you are either a silencer, a negligent poster for posting unfair and unbalanced, or your just one of those that thinks we will accept your one-sided trash.

    4. She can have a second chance. But perhaps that chance shouldn’t be “teaching” children.

  6. Can’t help but wonder what would happen if the left shoe were on the right foot, metaphorically speaking of course.

  7. Mizzou has one of the highest ranked journalism schools in the country. Click wasn’t a journalism professor, per se, but she was on loan to the J-School or somehow had links to it. That’s what got her in trouble. Not her activism or her lack of leadership in calming the situation. It was her poor judgment in trying to stop a student journalist from covering a legitimate news story on videotape that went viral. How does a professor associated with one of the nation’s highest ranked J-schools try to stop a student journalist from doing journalism? She embarrassed the J-School. Mizzou had no choice but to fire her for imperiling the J-school’s status and national ranking.

    Gonzaga doesn’t care about that. They likely view her newfound celebrity as a left wing kook a draw to help them recruit.

    It’s literally impossible to be too radically left wing for just about any university. If you’ve killed someone or bombed buildings as a left wing domestic terrorist, it enhances your marketability. Angela Davis was once on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list and she’s been indoctrinating children for about 30-35 years or so. Kathy Boudin is a convicted murderer and also a professor of law at Columbia University where she gets outstanding evaluations from students. Bill Ayers and Bernedine Dohrn were also on the FBI most wanted list. They’ve been indoctrinating students for several decades, she at the prestigious Northwestern University law school. Susan Rosenberg was also part of the Weather Underground. After being a fugitive for several years, she was finally caught in 1985 with several hundred pounds of dynamite and a submachine gun. She was convicted and sent to prison, until Bill Clinton commuted her sentence. Then she became a professor at John Jay College. Kathy Huggins was once a famous Black Panther. She was brought to trial for “aiding and abetting” the torturous murder of another Black Panther in a famous case from the ’70s. The Panthers gave the victim a show trial during which they strapped him to a chair and beat him to a pulp over a two day period. Scalding water was repeatedly poured over his naked body to coerce a confession from him that he was a “spy”. After confessing and having sat in his own blood and feces for two days, the Panthers loaded him in a car and took him to a secluded area where they shot him and threw his body into a swamp. The Panthers audiotaped the “trial” they gave him (but not the torture). Huggins voice can be heard on the tape. She was there. She was acquitted. She went on to become a professor of Women’s Studies in the Univ. of Cal system. You can listen to the audio tape here:

    I think Click was sacrificed because she embarrassed Mizzou and compromised the J-school’s national status. She is a piker when it comes to left wing activism. She needs to kill someone to be taken seriously. Then she’ll be ready to be promoted.

    1. Holy Cow. What an indictment of higher education in the U.S.
      Your post should give pause to anyone who seriously thinks higher education is on the right path.
      Thanks for the post!

    2. So…., being on the FBI “list” in an era when it kept files on patriotic Americans means anything of substance?

  8. The hiring dean is a professor of ‘English and Women and Gender Studies’, This is the feminist patronage mill at work (commonly run by lesbians with emotional problems).

  9. The academic job market in the humanities has been wretched for four decades and she lands a position. If you’ve seen Click’s vita, you can see she was indulged by Mizzou, with the tenure clock stopped for periods of time, even though she’s unmarried and childless. IIRC, her publications are unremarkable in quantity and odd in quality.

    Suggest this is like the hiring of Steven Salata at Champaign-Urbana or the hiring and (aborted) tenure for Norman Finkelstein at dePaul. Salaita had no background in the subject he was hired to teach and Finkelstein had a checkered record to begin with and was demonstrably unhinged. The faculty in question were giving patronage to useless political sectaries in a gesture of contempt for their constituents and the rest of the world.

    Gonzaga was founded as a Catholic school, btw. Higher education and culture would be better off if the place was shut down.

  10. Universities are clearly in turmoil, as are hospitals, banks, really every US institution. What used to be a “sure thing” for bright college grads, has been turned upside down by recent economies of scale and electronic information availability. When was the last time you actually went to your bank? Who needs those expensive bank buildings on every other corner of suburbia? Who needs college campuses? Who needs hospitals where 200,000-300,000 deaths a year are caused by medical errors and germs are spread and treated to the point that we now have ubiquitous antibiotic resistant bacteria?

    The answer? Hire part time people at minimum wage and pay the CEOs multimillion dollar salaries. That should work.

  11. There are only two things about Gonzaga that I absolutely detest: 1) that hoops team which always seems to get itself into the last two weeks of the NCAA with less than four-star recruits and relatively-unknown transfers; and, 2) that the administration never forced Adam Morrison to shave that peach fuzz above his upper lip which he claimed to be a mustache as he went on to become one of the best players in the country during his college days.

    As for the new hire, maybe she’s an outstanding journalism instructor who made a mistake in the heat of passion?

    1. To your last Q: No. Definitely multiple errors, which are hard to miscount, so I have to say I’m suspicious of your motive.

      1. Requesting “muscle” to physically threaten bodily harm on a journalism student doing his job. This is a crime, regardless the fact the DA let her slide.
      2. Multiple times avoiding taking direct responsibility, in which she could have done a public mea culpa, offered to purchase the offended a nice dinner, sworn to never do such again. Rather, she only obfuscated and blamed the circumstances for her error instead of only herself. (BTW, she polluted the minds of all the students who participated.)
      3. Soon thereafter she committed minor blocking of public right of way, and when ordered to desist, she cursed the police.

      I presume others can add to this list. Please do, to further enlighten Groen.

  12. May have been a mortal sin, but they can be forgiven, one year non tenure track positions qualift=y as temporal punishment, maybe even purgatory

  13. It was recently reported that enrollment at Mizzou is down 25%. I suspect that the actions undertaken by Ms. Click this past spring may have had something to do with this.

  14. Fall semester studies with professor Click’s syllabus, in depth analysis is ok: What’s the difference between a gypsy, carpetbagger & scalawag?

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