National AAUP censures MU for firing Click without due process
COLUMBIA - The national membership of the American Association of University Professors voted to censure MU after firing Dr. Melissa Click without due process. The AAUP said MU's actions violated the university’s own regulations and the AAUP’s recommended standards.
The MU Chapter of the AAUP said violating the AAUP’s standards means MU will struggle to recruit and retain the best teachers and scholars in the nation and worldwide.
In November 2015, Click confronted a student journalist, and a video of the encounter went viral. Another video was released in February showing Click getting into an argument with Columbia police officers at the MU Homecoming parade in October. The UM System Board of Curators voted to terminate Click 10 days after the second video was released. The censure does not support or condemn Click's actions.
The AAUP said in its investigative report the Board of Curators violated Click's academic due process by denying her a hearing before her fellow faculty.
"The Board of Curators set a dangerous precedent that threatens the security of position and, consequently, the academic freedom of all faculty members at the University of Missouri," the report said.
The report said the Curators acted alone in Click's case and undermined the authority of both faculty and campus administrators.
According to the AAUP, there is reason to suspect that grounds other than Professor Click’s actions were the real cause of her dismissal. The report said members of the Missouri legislature interfered by threatening financial and other consequences and openly demanding Click's firing.
The MU chapter of the AAUP said faculty have different views about Click’s actions but many agree that she deserves a fair and in-depth review to “clarify the context of her actions and to establish facts.”
“Trial by the Internet, mass media and a curator’s edited report by a private law firm cannot substitute for this university’s established processes for evaluating allegations of faculty misconduct," the MU AAUP chapter said.
The MU AAUP chapter said Click should be reinstated immediately to allow faculty review of her case and withdrawal of the national AAUP censure.
The group said it urges administration to work toward shared governance and the removal of the AAUP censure.