Melissa Click, the crazed communications professor from the University of Missouri who became a viral embarrassment to the university after assaulting a student photojournalist trying to video record a protest in November, was charged today with third-degree assault.
She faces up to 15 days in jail.
Now the question is, will the university continue to employ her?
The decision was made by Columbia City Prosecutor Steve Richey, who will retire March 4 “to focus on leisurely activities such as fishing and golfing.”
The decision to prosecute Click will likely be his last high-profile decision, prompted by a criminal complaint from Mark Schierbecker, the student who was recording the video when she assaulted him, calling for “some muscle” to have him removed from an area where he had every right to be.
Schierbecker sent the follow statement to PINAC in a Facebook message:
I want to reiterate that although Click has become a public face of Mizzou, her actions reflect a more systemic problem that students and journalists are facing on college campuses. I don’t want anyone to assume that just because the city is dealing with her criminal behavior, that this problem goes away. I am urging the University to enact reasonable protections that ensure journalists can gather news without being strong-armed. Missouri started working on this problem this summer with the passing of the Campus Free Expression Act, but there is still much to be done to ensure Mizzou can be a safe space for journalists
Tim Tai, the other journalist in the viral video who was being assaulted by students for trying to take photos, offered no comment as he did not file a complaint against Click.
According to the Columbia Daily Tribune:
Melissa Click faces a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by up to 15 days in jail and a $300 fine, for requesting “some muscle” to help remove Mark Schierbecker, a student journalist, from Carnahan Quadrangle on Nov. 9 at the height of student demonstrations over racism on campus. City Prosecutor Steve Richey filed the charge Monday morning, about two months after MU police sent the case to his office.
A receptionist at Richey’s office said he had no comment on the case. Richey previously told the Tribune he was working with both sides in the case on a resolution.
A warrant was not issued for Click’s arrest, the receptionist said, though Click will be issued a summons to appear in court.
The incident brought unwanted attention to the University of Missouri and especially the university’s famed journalism school, the oldest such program in the country and possibly the world, which took pains to distance itself from her after the incident.
We will be updating this throughout the day as more information is made available.
Below is the full-length video of the interaction between the protesters and faculty and the two journalists.