The University of Missouri will remove a courtesy title extended to a communication professor who called for, quote, “some muscle,” to block reporters’ access to protests.
Protests against racism on the University of Missouri campus continued yesterday after the resignation of Tim Wolfe as the UM System President. Reporters trying to cover the protests were denied access, some through physical and verbal intimidation.
One such incident was caught on video.
“You need to get out,” MU Assistant Professor Melissa Click tells Mark Schierbecker, who was taping when a student reporter freelancing for ESPN was blocked by protesters as he tried to enter a public area where they were camping.
When he tells her he doesn’t have to leave, she turns and begins calling out to protesters, “Who wants to help me get this reporter out of here? I need some muscle over here!”
Click is a member of the MU Communications Department who before today held a courtesy appointment to the School of Journalism.
The MU School of Journalism has reported the incident as an incident of racial harassment, as the reporter Schierbecker was taping being blocked is Asian-American.
The Department of Communication says it supports the First Amendment rights of reporters, but it will not comment on personnel matters.
Click has since issued a statement, obtained by a St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter, saying she has apologized to the reporters in the video.
“I have reviewed and reflected upon the video of me that is circulating, and have written this statement to offer both apology and context for my actions. I have reached out to the journalists involved to offer my sincere apologies and to express regret over my actions. I regret the language and strategies I used, and sincerely apologize to the MU campus community, and journalists at large, for my behavior, and also for the way my actions have shifted attention away from the students’ campaign for justice,” wrote Click.
She continued, “From this experience I have learned about humanity and humility. When I apologized to one of the reporters in a phone call this afternoon, he accepted by apology. I believe he is doing a difficult job, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to speak with him. His dignity also speaks well to the Journalism program at MU. Again, I wish to express my sincere apology for my actions on Carnahan Quad yesterday.”