Melissa Click was fired from the University of Missouri after being captured on video, during a campus protest, asking for “some muscle” to chase away a photojournalist. A Gonzaga spokesman said, “We’re very confident she’s learned from her experience.”
Last fall, a University of Missouri faculty member was captured on video asking for “some muscle” to chase a photojournalist away from a tense campus protest about racial conflicts. She was put on suspension and fired the following February.
This summer, Gonzaga University hired that professor, Melissa Click, for a one-year, non-tenure-track position in its Communications Studies Department.
A video that went viral on YouTube shows photojournalist Tim Tai, on a freelance assignment for ESPN, trying to take photos and being confronted by demonstrators who tell him to go away. (Prominent college athletes were involved in the protest.) “The First Amendment protects your right to be here and mine,” Tai said. The protesters shouted back: “Hey-hey, ho-ho, reporters have got to go!” Another told Tai: “You got to go, bro.”
Shortly afterward, Click appeared to push another reporter, Mark Schierbecker (he told The New York Times that she grabbed at his camera), and asked for help to eject him from the campus protest — which was on public property.
Gonzaga spokesperson Dave Sonntag said Saturday the university was “not in a position to talk about her past experiences,” but “we’re very confident she’s learned from her experience.”
Click, he said, has no past history with Gonzaga: “We see that incident as something in her past,” he added. “There could be a lot of opinions about that, a lot of possible debate about that.”
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In a follow-up interview with The Chronicle of Higher Education, Click said her actions had been misconstrued and that she was fired because “I’m a white lady. I’m an easy target.”
A statement Saturday from Gonzaga’s dean of arts and sciences says the school believes Click “will uphold the rigorous standards of academic excellence demanded of Gonzaga faculty and students.”
Click was not available for comment, Sonntag said.