Missouri suspends professor who called for ‘muscle’ against student reporter

A University of Missouri communications professor who called for “some muscle” to get a student journalist to back off during campus protests in November, was suspended by the school on Wednesday, days after she was charged with misdemeanor assault.

The university’s board of curators said Melissa Click was suspended with pay pending further investigation and it ordered an investigation to determine promptly whether additional discipline would be appropriate.

Click, an assistant professor in the university’s communications department, was charged on Monday by the Columbia, Missouri, city attorney. She could not immediately be reached for comment.

She can be seen on a student journalist’s video calling on protesters during an anti-racism demonstration to remove the reporter and a student photographer from a spot in the school quad that demonstrators had claimed as private space.

“Who wants to help me get this reporter out of here?” Click yells on camera. “I need some muscle over here.”

Click’s hand can be seen blocking the video image at least twice. She issued an apology for her actions. The student journalist filed a complaint against Click with university police, whose reports were turned over to the city attorney.

Interim Chancellor Hank Foley had said on Monday that Click would not teach classes this week and the university would let the criminal court process run its course.

The charge of third-degree assault, a class C misdemeanor, carries a sentence of up to 15 days in jail and a fine of $300.

(Reporting by David Bailey in Minneapolis; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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