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A Missouri professor, and UMass graduate, attempts to remove reporter from recent campus protest (Video)

By Mark Chiarelli

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The tent city at the Concerned Students 1950 protest on Monday, Nov. 9 2015, in Columbia, Mo. Concerned Students 1950 is a group named after the first year that black students were allowed to attend MU. (Michael Cali/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS)

The tent city at the Concerned Students 1950 protest on Monday, Nov. 9 2015, in Columbia, Mo. Concerned Students 1950 is a group named after the first year that black students were allowed to attend MU. (Michael Cali/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS)

A University of Missouri employee, and former graduate of the University of Massachusetts, forcefully attempted to remove journalists from a campus demonstration Monday, as tempers flared between members of the media and protestors on the Missouri Campus.

Melissa Click, a professor of mass media at Missouri and has a PhD in communications from UMass, is one of two faculty members seen on video attempting to restrict media access at demonstration on the school’s campus following the resignation of system president Tim Wolfe.

Students and faculty held demonstrations  Monday, shortly after Wolfe resigned amid criticism of the school’s lack of response to rising racial tensions on campus. Recently, a Missouri student calling for Wolfe’s resignation staged a hunger strike, while members of the school’s football team refused to participate in team activities until changes were made. Missouri’s chancellor, R. Bowen Loftin, also announced plans to step down Monday.

One such demonstration staged by Concerned Student 1950, a group of students that has led the charge in calling for faculty members such as Wolfe to step down, became tense Monday when students and faculty demanded that members of the media leave a particular space on Missouri’s campus.

In a nearly seven-minute video, students and faculty tell student photographer Tim Tai he does not have the right to photograph them. Tai responds that it’s within his first amendment rights to take photographs in a public setting. Students can be seen raising their arms in an attempt to block Tai’s camera, and another faculty member, Janna Basler, also demands that Tai leave.

At the end of the video, which is being recorded by another member of the media, Click is approached and asked if she can speak. She responds, “No, you need to get out,” to which the reporter says he does not.

Click then grabs his camera and demands he leave again. When he refuses, Click turns to a crowd and asks for help in removing the reporter.

“I need some muscle over here,” she says while pointing at the reporter.

Click has faced significant criticism over her handling of the event, and it has sparked discussion regarding first amendment rights throughout the country.

According to her faculty page, her current research projects “involve 50 Shades of Grey readers, the impact of social media in fans’ relationship with Lady Gaga, masculinity and male fans, messages about class and food in reality television programming, and messages about work in children’s television programs.”

Tom Warhover, the executive editor of the Columbia Missourian, a university newspaper staffed by students, responded to the video in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

“I’m pretty incensed about it,” he said. “I find it ironic that particularly faculty members would resort to those kinds of things for no good reason.”

Click had not responded to an interview request at the time of this story’s posting.

Mark Chiarelli can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Mark_Chiarelli. 

3 Comments

3 Responses to “A Missouri professor, and UMass graduate, attempts to remove reporter from recent campus protest (Video)”

  1. David Hunt 1990 on November 10th, 2015 1:25 pm

    Ah, you can just FEEL the tolerance and open-mindedness.

    All they’re missing are the brown shirts and clubs. And don’t worry, those will come soon.

  2. George Chidi on November 10th, 2015 4:50 pm

    Hey folks. I’m a journalist in Atlanta, a UMass J-school alumni and a watcher of weird.

    This story is insanely huge. If you don’t have someone — ANYONE — chasing down her PhD advisor and her co-authors and others at the communications school to get a better sense of what she might have learned while here, you’re missing out on the kind of story that will get you an actual reporting job when you graduate.

    Someone please profile the communications department at UMass, to put her conduct into some kind of context.

  3. Bob on November 11th, 2015 10:19 pm

    Unfortunately people like Click, and Blarney blowout revelers devalue UMASS. Think before you act, someday you will need to get a job.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




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