Gonzaga hires Missouri educator fired over protest conduct

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A University of Missouri assistant communications professor fired after interfering with journalists and police during student protests nearly a year ago has a new job with a university in Washington state.

Melissa Click, whose profile now appears on Gonzaga University’s website, has been hired to a one-year lecturer job in the undergraduate communication studies department at the private Catholic school in Spokane.

Click’s firing by Missouri in February followed run-ins with police during October 2015 protests in Columbia and with two student journalists weeks later on the campus, including a videotaped confrontation in which she called for “some muscle” to remove a student videographer from the protest area.

That video went viral, and more than 100 Missouri lawmakers, mostly Republican, called for her ouster. Click later said she regretted her actions but insisted her firing was unfair.

Elisabeth Mermann-Jozwiak, dean of Gonzaga’s College of Arts and Sciences, said in a statement to Missouri media outlets that Gonzaga officials were aware of Click’s recent past but, after a national search, deemed her “the most qualified and experienced candidate for the position.”

Click “has excellent recommendations for both her teaching and scholarship, which includes an extensive record of publication,” Mermann-Jozwiak wrote. “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.”

Messages left Sunday with Click by The Associated Press were not immediately returned.

Last year’s Missouri protests, spurred by what activists said was university administrators’ indifference to racial issues, led to the resignations of the president of the four-campus university system and the chancellor of its flagship campus in Columbia. Their resignations came after members of Missouri’s football team threw their support behind the protesters and threatened not to play unless the situation was resolved.

Before being fired by Missouri, Click was charged with misdemeanor assault over her November confrontation with the student videographer. But a Columbia prosecutor ultimately agreed to drop the case if Click completed community service.

(Copyright 2016 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

 

 

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