Melissa Click, the University of Missouri communications professor who gained national notoriety when she was caught on video calling for “muscle” to remove a student journalist from an anti-racist campus protest, has broken her silence.
In an interview with Columbia’s ABC affiliate, Click expressed regret for her handling of the situation on Mizzou’s campus last fall and insisted she never meant to cause any physical harm to the journalist whom she was trying to kick out of an area of campus where protesters had set up camp.
“When I watch the video, I feel sorry,” Click said. “I feel embarrassed by my actions. I was never calling for violence. It was just something that came out in a flustered moment.”
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The same day the interview became public, the House Appropriations-Higher Education Committee voted to freeze the University of Missouri’s budget, specifically citing Click’s continued employment as a reason.
“There were many people in (the Capitol), and many people outside this building, our constituents, who wanted us to literally just take as much as we could,” committee chairwoman Rep. Donna Lichtenegger, a Jackson Republican, told the Columbia Daily Tribune. “I fought not to do that. The best thing I could do is not to give the increase.”
Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, had built a 6 percent increase in funding for the school into his budget proposal. The suggested budget freeze will not go to the House Budget Committee, which will make changes to all aspects of the budget before sending it to the full House for debate.
House Speaker Todd Richardson, a Poplar Bluff Republican, said the governor’s budget request, which totaled $56 million in additional higher education funding, was “unreasonable.”
He noted that the current budget proposal in the House would pump an extra $22 million into higher education, with every public university except MU getting a 2 percent increase. That reflects an ongoing frustration with the University of Missouri, he said.
“We want the University of Missouri to be successful,” he said. “I believe the University of Missouri can be successful. But we want to be confident going forward that leadership is in place to take the university in a positive direction.”
Click was charged with third-degree assault two weeks ago, but she has agreed to a deal that allows her to avoid prosecution.
Watch the full Click interview below.