Unforgettable moments at a public university with the oldest and one of the most esteemed journalism schools in America:
"You need to get out, you need to get out!"
"No, I don't."
"You need to get out!"
"I actually don't."
"All right. Hey, who wants to help me get this reporter out of here? I need some muscle over here!"
And yup, irony of delicious ironies, 44-year-old Melissa Click, the screamer for "muscle" to remove a member of the media covering a student protest in a public place on campus, is actually a communications professor at the University of Missouri!
Furthermore, only a few days earlier Click had asked for media coverage of the ongoing protest (something to do with Mizzou administrators' alleged failure to move speedily enough in a couple of isolated racial incidents):
“Hey folks, students fighting racism on the MU campus want to get their message into the national media,” Click wrote on her Facebook page. “Who among my friends knows someone who would want a scoop into this incredible topic? This story involves the failure of administrators, a student on day 6 of a hunger strike, and creative, fearless students. If you can help, please let me know!”
But then, once the media actually took a look at what the protest consisted of, Click obviously changed her mind. The reporter who triggered Click's call for "muscle" was a student photographer, Mark Schierbecker, who was videotaping the protest mob's efforts to bully another student photographer, Tim Tai, off of the campus green where they had gathered. Shierbecker's video is certainly racially instructive: a mostly white group trying to intimidate a young Asian. Talk about white privilege!
Prominent among Tai's bulliers was nother non-student on the Mizzou payroll egging on the youngsters, Janna Basler, director of Greek life for the university. Schierbecker captured her putting her hand in front of Tai's face in an effort to block him and refusing to give him her name, calling herself "Concerned Student 1950." The only "student" at Mizzou with a $67,000-a-year job.
Click's academic career is a news story in itself:
According to her bio on the University of Missouri website, Melissa Click specializes in “audience studies, theories of gender and sexuality, and media literacy”:
"Her research interests center on popular culture texts and audiences, particularly texts and audiences disdained in mainstream culture. Her work in this area is guided by audience studies, theories of gender and sexuality, and media literacy. 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."
Click’s dissertation for her Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst was about the “commodification of femininity, affluence and whiteness in the Martha Stewart phenomenon,” according to her CV. You can read the full dissertation here.
And that 419-page dissertation, which examines "how social, cultural and political discourses circulate in and through a mediated text," is a doozy. Given the general mood at Mizzou, which is to give in to whatever itsloudest students yell loudest for, Click looks like a shoo-in for tenure. After all, the activists have already gotten rid of both Mizzou's president, Tim Wolfe, and its chancellor, R. Bowen Loftin. I predict a stellar academic future for Melissa Click.