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Assistant MU professor Melissa Click vows to fight for her job

Clash between media, Melissa Click and protesters at the University of Missouri (extended version)

Freelance photographer Tim Tai and videographer Mark Schierbecker are harassed by student supporters and university staff supporters of the #ConcernedStudent1950 movement in November 2015. Communications faculty member Melissa Click asks for 'musc
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Freelance photographer Tim Tai and videographer Mark Schierbecker are harassed by student supporters and university staff supporters of the #ConcernedStudent1950 movement in November 2015. Communications faculty member Melissa Click asks for 'musc

The assistant University of Missouri professor caught on video calling for “muscle” to remove a student journalist from a campus protest last November said in an interview with CBS This Morning that she was embarrassed by her behavior.

“I believe it doesn’t represent who I am as a person,” Click said in an interview with and CBS News correspondent Anna Werner. “It doesn’t represent the good I was doing there that day, and you know, certainly I wish I could do it over again.”

Click said she didn’t know for sure the student was a real journalist.

“He introduced himself only as media and came at me with a camera,” Click said.

Werner pointed out that it was a camera, not a weapon.

“Sure, but it wasn’t a big camera,” Click responded. “It could have been a phone-sized camera …. Again, it didn’t say ‘professional journalist’ to me.”

Many professional news organizations, including The Kansas City Star, have their reporters routinely use iPhones and cellphones to gather news video.

 

Click said her call for muscle was a mistake.

“I never ever meant that as a call for violence,” she said. “It was just one of those things said in the heat of the moment.

The Board of Curators called for an investigation of Click's actions in the November video after the Columbia prosecutor charged her with assault. She agreed to a deal late last month to avoid prosecution by doing community service and staying out of trouble for a year. Curators suspended Click pending their investigation.

Werner asked Click about another video that surfaced last week showing her confronting Columbia police during an earlier protest at a homecoming parade last fall.

In the video, an agitated Click confronts police who were moving a group of predominately black protestors off the streets. Click cursed at an officer.

Click said in a statement sent to The Star earlier this week that she was sorry for cursing at the officer.

“You can understand where a lot of people watching those videos are saying, ‘She’s got a problem,’” Werner said in the CBS interview.

“People who know me, don’t feel that way,” Click responded. “People who were there that day don’t feel that way. They know what it was like to be there. They know I was there with the best intentions and they know it was a really tricky situation.”

Saying she felt that the curators and the chancellor have set up an environment where she can’t be fairly evaluated, Click said she plans to fight for her job.

“I love my job,” she said. “I’m good at my job. I made mistakes. I don’t think I should be judged entirely on those mistakes and I’m going to fight for what I think is fair.”

Robert A. Cronkleton: 816-234-4261, @cronkb

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