University of Missouri leadership says it would need a complaint against Melissa Click to fire her. After a hearing Wednesday night with state lawmakers, it has one.
Click is the University of Missouri professor seen in separate videos asking for “muscle” to keep a reporter away from protesters, and in a separate incident, cursing at police.
During the hearing with a joint House and Senate committee on education, several lawmakers from both parties expressed frustration with the length of time it has taken the university to investigate Click.
Senator Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) asked about the process to release Click from her contract for cause, “and if there’s one thing that I see in both of those videos … it is more cause than I have ever seen in an employment situation in my life and 20 years as a lawyer.”
Interim Chancellor Hank Foley told legislators the University’s codes outline the process to go through before she could be released.
“Someone would have to file a grievance against her and that grievance would have to be adjudicated by a faculty committee,” said Foley. “That faculty committee would then make a recommendation and that recommendation would come to me, and I would either follow it or not follow it depending on what they would recommend.”
After several legislators who want Click removed asked whether they could file a complaint against her and how to do that, Senator Paul Weiland (R-Imperial) handed Foley one during the hearing.
“I’m giving you a complaint tonight that you can pass on to the provost … and I have the dates in there and what the offenses were for.”
The interim chair of the Board of Curators, Pamela Henrickson, told lawmakers the investigation of Click is nearly finished and said the legislators don’t need to do anything about her.
“Once the investigation is complete a decision will be made,” said Henrickson.
After the video of Click interacting with police was released over the weekend, Foley issued a statement calling her conduct and behavior, “appalling.” He said he would, “address these new revelations with the Board of Curators as they work to complete their own review of the matter.”
100 state legislators have publicly called for Click to be fired. More than 100 MU faculty have publicly supported Click.
Weiland hinted he might also file a grievance against former football coach Gary Pinkel, who retired in November for health reasons. Pinkel announced he has non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and later accepted a position as an ambassador for the school – and a three-year deal worth $950,000.
Weiland said his constituents were, “kind of concerned that in their minds he had held the University hostage and as a reward the University gave him a contract for $1-million over three years.”
Pinkel participated with his coaching staff and players in a boycott of athletic activities during fall protests against the University’s handling of incidents of racism. Those protests led to the resignation of former UM System President Tim Wolfe and the shifting of former Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin to another position.
Weiland later told Foley, “I will probably be preparing a complaint to forward to the provost on his behalf as well because in my viewpoint he did discredit the University.”