National professors group urges University of Missouri to rehire Melissa Click

(Kansas City Star) –  The American Association of University Professors is urging the University of Missouri to reinstate assistant professor of communications Melissa Click, who was fired this week.

The organization, which represents about 50,000 university professors and staff in 500 chapters, sent a letter Friday to University of Missouri interim chancellor Hank Foley.

The national organization said the way Click was fired was not in keeping with the expected due process for termination at the public college.

The AAUP in its letter also said that Click deserved “a hearing before an elected faculty body” and that anything short of that “is an action fundamentally at odds with basic standards of academic due process.”

As such, the letter stated, “We therefore urge in strongest terms that the board of curators immediately rescind the notice of termination issued to Professor Click and that any subsequent action be consistent with the institutional regulations of the University of Missouri and with the AAUP-supported procedural standards.”

University officials declined to comment Friday afternoon.

The university’s board of curators voted Wednesday to fire Click, who was captured on video calling for “some muscle” to remove a student journalist from a campus protest in November. She was let her go after the curators received the results of an external investigation commissioned by the board to look into Click’s behavior at the protest and during a homecoming parade during which she confronted and cursed at police.

Click’s firing was announced Thursday.

Curators have been under pressure from Missouri legislators who threatened to cut funding to the school and demanded that Click be fired for her behavior, which they said had hurt the university’s reputation.

Pamela Henrickson, chair of the MU board of curators, said Thursday that the board’s decision was not influenced by legislators.

But some faculty members and some students have speculated political pressure played a role. Faculty on the Columbia campus have said that under the “Collected Rules and Regulations of the University,” which the board has approved, faculty members accused of misconduct are entitled to a fair hearing before they can be dismissed.

No formal complaint was ever filed against Click.