COLUMBIA, Mo. — The interim chancellor of the University of Missouri says a new video shows “appalling” behavior from an assistant professor who was suspended for run-ins with student journalists during university protests last year and warrants a conversation with the university system’s governing board.
The new video, which is from two police body cameras and was obtained through a public records request by the Columbia Missourian, shows the school’s Homecoming parade in October, where demonstrators blocked then-system President Tim Wolfe’s vehicle. In the video, assistant communications professor Melissa Click tells police to “get your hands off the children” and curses at an officer who grabbed her shoulder.
As Columbia police pushed protesters onto the sidewalk, Click hugged students and spoke with them before stepping between Missouri graduate student Jonathan Butler, who later went on a hunger strike, and an officer.
“I remember thinking, stupidly, that if as a white person I put myself in front of the students, that maybe they wouldn’t push me,” Click told the newspaper.
The University of Missouri’s protests were spurred by what activists said was administrators’ indifference to racial issues. The protests escalated in November, when video showed Click calling for “some muscle” to remove a student videographer from a protest at the university. The Columbia chancellor and Wolfe later resigned.
Click, who was suspended last month, was charged with misdemeanor assault, though a prosecutor said he’ll drop the matter if she completes community service.
Interim Chancellor Hank Foley said Sunday night in a statement that the footage showed a “pattern of misconduct.”
“Her conduct and behavior are appalling, and I am not only disappointed, I am angry, that a member of our faculty acted this way,” he said.
“We must have high expectations of members of our community, and I will address these new revelations with the Board of Curators as they work to complete their own review of the matter,” he added.