Melissa Click–the gift that keeps on giving.
The latest salvo from the University of Missouri's soon-to-be-former "muscle" professor is this doozy she wrote for the Washington Post. Its theme: Why are you meanies picking on me just because I tried to obstruct a cop and called for someone to beat up a reporter?
Among the debates and judgments the video footage of my mistakes has attracted, few have sincerely grappled with the sudden choices I had to make in challenging circumstances, and fewer still have earnestly asked whether my protected right to speak out as a US citizen requires that I must be perfect while doing so….
I do not understand the widespread impulse to shame those whose best intentions unfortunately result in imperfect actions. What would our world be like if no one ever took a chance? What if everyone played it safe?…
We should all be concerned about the larger issues my situation raises.
I don’t want to live in a world where citizens are too afraid of public scorn to take a chance. Do you?
Shorter version: I was fired because I'm not perfect.
Click also can't resist a combination of tooting her own horn and taking to task the Mizzou Board of Curators for daring to can her without the approval of the rest of the Mizzou faculty:
MU has procedures in place to evaluate faculty whose conduct has come into question, but the Board of Curators, under pressure from a state legislature holding MU’s annual budget hostage, has refused to follow those procedures. Instead, the Curators’ actions — and the nationwide public outcry over these few recorded moments of my actions — wholly disregard the overwhelming evidence of my outstanding contributions to MU: student evaluations, teaching awards, research and publications, service to professional organizations, and a solid case for tenure.
While I continue to fight the MU Board of Curators’ decision to terminate my employment without due process and in violation of university policy, I am also working to come to terms with how a few captured moments of imperfection could eclipse 12 years of excellence.
Shorter version: I'm so wonderful–how dare the board fire me just for some li'l ol' "imperfections."
Here's the deal, soon-to-be-former Prof. Click: We all know how important to the world of scholarship your research on Twilight, Lady Gaga, and "the commodification of feminity, affluence and whiteness in the Martha Stewart phenomenon" has been. But you committed two egregious acts of conduct unbecoming a college professor. academic, one of them an act of aggression against a student at the very university where you teach. And since Mizzou is a public institution, that student not only had a right as a student not to have a professor try to gin up an assault against him, but a right under the First Amendment to be in a public open space on university grounds and to record for the press what was taking place there without a professor trying to snatch his camera.
Yes, it would have been nice to have let the Mizzou faculty conduct its own investigation of your conduct–except that the Mizzou faculty chose to sit on its hands for three solid months instead. Indeed some 119 faculty members simply signed a letter of uncrtical support for you.
So what was the Board of Curators supposed to do? Wait until the cows came home?
But don't worry, soon-to-be-former professor. I'm betting lunch that a cushy tenured job offer from another university will soon be forthcoming for you. Your fellow academics just love you. They think you're a martyr.