The University of Missouri Police Department said it has handed over documents to prosecutors on its investigation into the MU communication professor who clashed with journalists.
On Wednesday, Columbia City prosecutors confirmed MUPD had forwarded paperwork to the Columbia Municipal Prosecutor’s Office.
ABC 17 News has checked with prosecutors daily since Assistant Professor Melissa Click was featured in severalvideosconfronting journalists, blocking their access to protests on MU campus “through physical and verbal intimidation.”
The November 10th protests centered around alleged racism on campus and lead to the resignations of Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin and President Tim Wolfe.
The incident also lead the MU Dean of Journalism to remove the courtesy title Click previously had with MU’s journalism school.
Prosecutors will now review that report and determine if they will file charges again Click.
Here’s a look at some of the previous reporting ABC 17 News has published on the incident:
Click released an apology to the Department of Communication a day after she was featured in a video clashing with journalists saying, “Yesterday was a historic day at MU- full of emotion and confusion. I have reviewed and reflected upon the video of me that is circulating, and have written this statement to offer both apology and context for my actions. I have reached out to the journalists involved to offer my sincere apologies and to express regret over my actions. I regret the language and strategies I used, and sincerely apologize to the MU campus community, and journalists at large, for my behavior, and also for the way my actions have shifted attention away from the students’ campaign for justice. My actions were shaped by exasperation with a few spirited reporters. From this experience I have learned about humanity and humility. When I apologized to Tim Tai in a phone call this afternoon, he accepted my apology. I believe he is doing a difficult job, and I am grateful to hav ehad the opportunity to speak with him. His dignity also speaks well to the journalism program at MU. Again, I wish to express my sincere apology for my actions on the Carnahan Quad yesterday.”
The MU Department of Communication released a statement regarding Click saying it would not comment on personnel matters.
“The University of Missouri Department of Communication supports the First Amendment as a fundamental right and guiding principle underlying all that we do as an academic community. We applaud student journalists who were working in a very trying atmosphere to report a significant story. Intimidation is never an acceptable form of communication. We reiterate our commitment as communication scholars to the transformative power of dialogue; we believe words shape our realites and that engaging multiple perspectives is vital. According to the University’s Collected Rules and Regulations, we will not be able to comment on any personnel matters.”
ABC 17 News obtained an email from a faculty member in the Missouri School of Journalism that states, “Colleagues, As an adjunct faculty member, I am required by MU regulations to report any Title IX violations that come to my attention. In a video made yesterday on Carnahan Quad, a communications department faculty member, Melissa Click, is shown threatening and therefore assaulting Tim Tai, an Asian-American and one of our best photojournalism students. As I understand it, Tim was freelancing at the time for ESPN.
Dr. Click and her accomplice may also be guilty of battery as our student on one or two occasions protested being pushed by the two women. The second woman joining in the harassment is Janna Basler, a staff member who works in the Office of Greek Life.
Because I am a mandatory reporter under MU regulations, I have reported this racial harassment violation to the MU Title IX office. If you have watched the video, I urge you also to report, as you are obligated to do.”
MU Journalism Dean David Kurpius said Click violated the journalists’ First Amendment rights to cover public events since the protesters were on public property.
Another woman accused of joining in on the alleged harassment is Janna Bassler, a staff member who works in the Office of Greek Life.
Student Life Director Mark Lucas released the following statement a day after the clash, “The University of Missouri Department of Student Life and the Office of Greek Life are saddened to see the efforts of our students being overshadowed during this critical time for our community. MU is committed to the First Amendment, free speech, academic freedom, and the robust exchange of ideas and knowledge. MU is also committed to its principles of non-discrimination and its four core values; respect, responsibility, discovery, and excellence. We take responsibility to model positive behavior for the students we serve. Vice Chancellor Cathy Scroggs and I are reviewing videos and will be having conversations with individuals present in order to understand what happened. We will take any appropriate actions at that time. In accordance with University Collected Rules and Regulations, we will not comment on any personnel matters.”
This is a developing story. ABC 17 News will continue working to learn more about this incident and will keep checking with prosecutors to see if charges are filed.