Old Melissa Click money quote: "I need some muscle over here!"
New Melissa Click money quote: "Get your f—ing hands off me!"
The 45-year-old assistant professor of communications at the University of Missouri is proving once again that she sure knows how to communicate. And also that you're never too old and nerdy as a college prof to get down with cool student protesters at least half your age.
This time around, some police body-camera footage has surfaced showing Click screaming obscenities at police officers trying to remove some radical Mizzou students who were blocking a campus homecoming parade. The incident occurred in October 2015, about a month before Click famously called for "some muscle" to remove a student reporter who was tryng to cover with his camera a volatile anti-racism demonstration at a public quad on the Mizzou main campus in Columbia, Missouri. Click pleaded guilty in January to third-degree assault over the "muscle" episode in return for performing community service. She was also suspended from her professorial job and barred from setting foot on the Mizzou campus pending a university investigation of her conduct in the Nov. 10, 2015 contretemps.
Before the vid of the October incident surfaced, Mizzou officials were assuring the public that the November incident had been a one-off that was completely out of character for Click:
'We are confident that she does not present a danger to anyone but we have to protect our learning environment for our students,' [Mizzou interim chancellor Hank Foley] said.
'She had a moment of heated anger that day. I just do not think the person is dangerous.'
Describing her as an otherwise 'model citizen', Foley added that her application for tenure would continue as normal as making a 'hasty decision' could lead to 'more turmoil'.
And Click still has her sympathizers in the press. Conor Friedersdorf writes for The Atlantic:
With all the unjust behavior that goes on daily, why would a brief encounter with a photographer inspire a letter from politicians and scores of abusive emails and voicemails? I think her antagonists are convinced that intolerance on campus is a hugely damaging problem, and they are reflexively heaping all their related frustrations on this one person who happened to get caught on video, even though there’s no evidence that she accounts for more than an infinitesimal part of the problem.
Caught twice on video, actually.
What I'm wondering is: How, with all those student protests that evidently help Melissa Click feel young again, does she find time to do that Very Important Scholarly Research about Lady Gaga that she's famous for?