Melissa Click has a new job in higher education just months after the controversial professor was fired from her post at the University of Missouri for threatening a student journalist in a videotaped encounter during last year’s protest at the university.
Click gained viral infamy last November when she was seen calling for muscle to prevent a student photographer from entering an area where students were staging a protest, including one on a hunger strike. Another video showed Click in a verbal spat with police officers trying to keep order at the protest.
The protest was speaking out against a series of racially charged incidents on campus and the university’s slow response, a movement that started small but quickly ballooned into a national story when the team’s football team threatened a boycott unless the president was relieved of his job.
The protest itself drew controversy, with many former students and even some professors speaking out against the pervasive racism against students of color and the seeming lack of interest by school administrators in addressing it. But at the same time, critics took aim at the demands of student protesters and called into question some of the racially charged incidents, claiming that some may have been fabricated.
The protest eventually cost Mizzou President Tim Wolfe his job, but also led to the sacking of Melissa Click. She was charged misdemeanor assault for the incident, but a prosecutor dropped the case in exchange for Click completing community service, the Chicago Tribune noted.
Click was fired by Missouri in February, a decision that divided many in the community. While a group of 100 lawmakers signed a petition calling on the university to fire her, Click also had the support of many of her colleagues.
But Melissa Click didn’t stay out of work for long. This weekend, Gonzaga University announced on its university website that she had been hired as a lecturer.
— Total Frat Move (@totalfratmove) September 4, 2016
The news was met with scorn in many corners, as Click was seen as the face of the misguided aspects of the student protest, including stifling the press attempting to cover it.
To receive forgiveness, one must ask for it… not portray oneself as a martyr. Melissa Click is clueless https://t.co/tPaFTiwIsD
— Robby Soave (@robbysoave) September 4, 2016
Reason.com editor Robby Soave noted that Click has a right to forgiveness and a second chance, but she has failed to show any regret over the incident at Missouri that cost her job.
“I don’t really think Click’s life should be ruined over one ill-considered moment, and Gonzaga is free to employ her if it wants to. But I’d prefer to see some actual contrition from Click first. How can it possibly be the case that she is currently the most qualified person to teach communications (of all things), when she doesn’t even seem capable of learning from her own mistakes?”
Gonzaga’s academic administrators are standing behind the decision to hire Melissa Click. In a message obtained by the Kansas City Star, the dean of Gonzaga’s college of arts and sciences said they reviewed the professor’s history and put a lot of thought into the decision to hire her.
“Dr. Click was hired through an extensive national search process that revealed her to be the most qualified and experienced candidate for the position,” Elisabeth Mermann-Jozwiak wrote in the statement published by Fox News. “Dr. Click has excellent recommendations for both her teaching and scholarship, which includes an extensive record of publication. We are confident she has learned much from her experiences at the University of Missouri and believe she will uphold the rigorous standards of academic excellence demanded of Gonzaga faculty and students.”
Melissa Click has not responded to requests for interviews about her recent job hire at Gonzaga University.
[Photo by Mark Schierbecker/AP Images]