Board Upholds Firing of Missouri Professor who Protested - Higher Education
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Board Upholds Firing of Missouri Professor who Protested

by Heather Hollingsworth, Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. ― The University of Missouri’s Board of Curators upheld its decision to fire an assistant professor whose run-ins with student journalists and the police during race-related protests last fall drew widespread attention, the university system said Tuesday.

The board found that Melissa Click’s appeal “brought no new relevant information,” the university system said in a statement. The curators unanimously reached the decision Monday during a closed session. A spokesman for the curators, John Fougere, said Click stopped being paid Tuesday.

“We consider this matter now closed and are moving forward as a university and as a community,” the statement said, adding that it believes that Click was “treated fairly throughout this matter.”

Click, whose February firing came a month after she was suspended, issued a statement vowing to “continue to fight” the curators, saying their actions “violate university policy and set a dangerous precedent.” The American Association of University Professors has backed Click and said it was investigating the process leading to her firing.

More than 100 state lawmakers, mostly Republican, had called for her removal. Click, 45, said her actions should be viewed “within the context of the volatile situations” she encountered.

In voicing support for Click’s firing, top university administrators cited her run-ins with police during October protests in Columbia and with two student journalists weeks later on the Columbia campus, including a videotaped confrontation in which she called for “some muscle” to remove a student videographer from the protest area.

In October, Click was recorded telling police to get their hands off students during a protest, then hugging the students and cursing at an officer who grabbed her.

The protests, spurred by what activists said was administrators’ indifference to racial issues on campus, led to the resignations of the president of the four-campus university system and the chancellor of its flagship campus in Columbia. Their resignations came after members of Missouri’s football team threw their support behind the protesters and threatened not to play unless the situation was resolved.

Click said the curators’ decision “appears to be designed to discourage future activism,” but that she hopes the university “will continue to advocate for fair treatment of all students, staff, and faculty.”

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