More than 100 Missouri Republican lawmakers signed a letter to the University Of Missouri Board of Curators calling for the immediate firing of assistant professor Melissa Click, reported USA Today Tuesday. Click was the subject of nationwide scrutiny after a video surfaced in which she called for "muscle" to help her remove a student journalist from the site of a campus protest at Mizzou in November.
Eighteen state senators and more than 100 House members signed the letter that called for the termination of communications assistant professor Click, saying she "failed to meet the obligations she has to her supervisors, fellow professors, university students and the taxpayers of Missouri."
"As an academic professional, her first goal should have been to promote a safe and stable learning environment for all students and to represent the university to the public in a way that strengthens the image of our flagship state institution of higher education," the letter read, according to WDAF-TV. "Instead, professor Click’s comments served to inflame an already caustic situation that was clearly out of line."
The group of lawmakers also called for the firing of Janna Basler, the university's assistant director of Greek life, who was seen in the video appearing to have made physical contact with a student photographer. In the video, Click appears to reach for a camera and call for help to remove student journalist Mark Schierbecker, USA Today reported. “Hey, who wants to help me get this reporter out of here! I need some muscle over here,” Click yells to protesters in the video.
The protests at the University of Missouri were over concerns from African-American students who felt Mizzou officials had not addressed racism on campus. The football team went on strike, and eventually, University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe resigned. Following the controversy, Click resigned from a courtesy position in the journalism department but stayed with the communications department.
"The fact that, as a professor teaching in the communication department and school of journalism, she displayed such a complete disregard for the First Amendment rights of reporters should be enough to question her competency and aptitude for her job," the lawmakers wrote, according to USA Today. "It should be evident that these actions are inappropriate, illegal and unacceptable for a faculty member of the University of Missouri."
Missouri state Rep. Caleb Jones, a GOP lawmaker from Columbia, told USA Today he and his fellow lawmakers began collecting signatures last month but decided to make the effort public after gaining support from more than 100 of his colleagues.