UM Board of Curators announces Melissa Click's termination

2 years 3 months 3 weeks ago Thursday, February 25 2016 Feb 25, 2016 Thursday, February 25, 2016 2:17:00 PM CST February 25, 2016 in Top Stories
By: Kaitlin Rounds and Kolbie Satterfield, KOMU 8 Reporters and Amber Smith, KOMU 8 Digital Producer
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COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri Board of Curators announced they terminated Melissa Click at a conference call with media Thursday afternoon.

After the announcement, the University of Missouri released the following statement below :

Pam Henrickson, chair of the University of Missouri Board of Curators, released the following statement today:

Last week, the Board of Curators received the investigative report detailing the relevant facts surrounding recent conduct by MU assistant professor, Dr. Melissa Click.  On January 27, the board authorized an investigation so it could determine whether additional discipline for Dr. Click was appropriate.

Investigators reviewed relevant documents, materials and video recordings, as well as interviewed more than 20 witnesses. Dr. Click was interviewed twice and was represented by counsel on both occasions. When Dr. Click identified witnesses that she thought were relevant, the investigators interviewed - or attempted to interview - each of those witnesses and included their information in the report.

On February 12, Dr. Click was provided a complete copy of the report of the investigation, which included all documents, videos and witness statements gathered during the investigation and was offered the opportunity to submit a written response. Her response was received on February 19, after which the board received the report from investigators, including Dr. Click’s response.

After reviewing the report and Dr. Click’s response, and, after extensive discussion, the board voted last night in executive session to terminate the employment of Dr. Click. She has the right to appeal her termination. The board went to significant lengths to ensure fairness and due process for Dr. Click.

The board believes that Dr. Click’s conduct was not compatible with university policies and did not meet expectations for a university faculty member. The circumstances surrounding Dr. Click’s behavior, both at a protest in October when she tried to interfere with police officers who were carrying out their duties, and at a rally in November, when she interfered with members of the media and students who were exercising their rights in a public space and called for intimidation against one of our students, we believe demands serious action.

The board respects Dr. Click’s right to express her views and does not base this decision on her support for students engaged in protest or their views.  However, Dr. Click was not entitled to interfere with the rights of others, to confront members of law enforcement or to encourage potential physical intimidation against a student.

Together as a university community, we must move forward from the events of the fall.  The board will continue to engage in productive and meaningful conversations with student and campus leaders to facilitate communication, transparency and to address issues brought to the forefront.

Statement from University of Missouri-Columbia Interim Chancellor Hank Foley:

The process the Board of Curators used to reach a determination about Dr. Click’s employment at the university is not typical—but these have been extraordinary times in our university’s history, and I am in complete agreement with the board that the termination of Dr. Click is in the best interest of our university. Her actions in October and November are those that directly violate the core values of our university. I can assure you—as Board Chairwoman Henrickson noted—that there has been fairness in this process and investigation.

Finally, I personally would like to reiterate my commitment to ensuring a university community where we ALL feel valued and heard. Work is already underway—with much more to come. In the meantime, I, too, look forward to meaningful conversations ahead.

Reaction from the Missouri Press Association

KOMU 8 News sat down with the Missouri Press Association Executive Director Doug Crews following Click's resignation. He said his first reaction was that he was not surprised by her dismissal and that it was going to happen.

"I think as an individual that what occurred was so damaging to this university in so many ways, I think this is probably the best outcome for the university and for the Columbia community."

Crews also said he hopes the board of curators followed the process to formally dismiss Click. He said he hopes the university can move forward in a positive way. Crews said he thinks her dismissal will also help with the Missouri legislature. The Missouri Press Association is 100 percent supportive of First Amendment rights of student journalists.

Timeline

October 10, 2015 – Dr. Click blocks Homecoming parade and gets into confrontation with CPD

November 9, 2015 – Click attempts to exclude people from public spaces on Carnahan Quadrangle; attempts to prohibit Tim Tai and other media from covering event; knocks MU student Mark Schierbecker’s camera ajar and calls for “muscle” to remove him from area

January 25, 2016 – City Prosecutor brings charge against Click for assaulting Schierbecker

January 27, 2016 – Board of Curators suspends Click and orders investigation to determine whether additional discipline is appropriate

January 28, 2016 – Bryan Cave law firm commences investigation

February 4, 2016 – Board of Curators schedules a meeting for February 24, 2016

February 12, 2016 – Bryan Cave completes investigation and provides investigative report to Click for response 

February 19, 2016 – Click provides response to investigative report

February 20, 2016 – Investigative report and Click’s response provided to board of curators

February 22, 2016 – Public Notice of board meeting for February 24, 2016

February 24, 2016 – Board meeting and vote

February 25, 2016 – Announcement

To access the complete investigative report and accompanying files, please visit the following links:

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