More than 100 state lawmakers have called for the resignation of a University of Missouri communications professor for blocking reporters’ access during anti-racism school protests last fall. In a letter to the MU Board of Curators, the lawmakers demanded the immediate removal of Melissa Click. Governor Jay Nixon said discussions on First Amendment rights are okay but Mizzou leaders should be the ones to decide if Click stays or goes.
“I’m not going to micro manage the university. I don’t call Chancellor Foley or the President up and tell them who to hire and fire,” said Nixon. “The Legislature certainly has opinions and quite frankly, I thought the conduct was unacceptable but that’s me talking.”
Nixon said the state has to move forward on the issue.
“Whether the conduct was unacceptable or not, we certainly have First Amendment rights to talk about it,” said Nixon. “But, this institution is far too important to the future of our state and far too vital to the economic mission for people to talk about fiscal punishment for personnel issues.”
University of Missouri Curator David Steelman said Click should be fired.
“This really isn’t a debatable issue. It really is not,” said Steelman. “I love our university but frankly, I think it’s a little ridiculous that it’s taken this long. I am a lawyer. There’s no question that the threat of physical force, which is what she did, is an assault.”
Steelman said holding people accountable at the university is important.
A video showed Click calling for “some muscle” to block a reporter from protesters last fall’s demonstrations. She issued a statement saying she has apologized to the reporters in the video.
Protesters called for the resignation of then-President Tim Wolfe for his handling of incidents of racism last year on campus.