Fired Professor Explains Her Behavior at Protests

Melissa Click blames 'inexperience with public protests'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2016 4:28 PM CDT
Fired Professor Explains Her Behavior at Protests
Still from video showing University of Missouri assistant professor Melissa Click during a run-in with student journalists during protests on the Columbia campus.   (Mark Schierbecker via AP, File)

"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?" So writes Melissa Click in the Washington Post. Click, an assistant professor, was fired by the University of Missouri after videos of her pushing a student journalist and, in a separate incident, yelling at a police officer during student protests went viral. In her piece for the Post, Click blames her actions on her "inexperience with public protests" and says she had to make "sudden choices" in "challenging circumstances." She claims the university violated its policy of due process and bowed to political pressure in firing her despite her teaching awards, student evaluations, and more.

Click says she is "working to come to terms with how a few captured moments of imperfection could eclipse 12 years of excellence" and wonders if her "right to speak out as a US citizen requires that I must be perfect while doing so." But she says her situation also raises bigger questions about the direction in which society is headed. Modern technology is "exposing us to unprecedented public scrutiny" whereby "earnest mistakes made by ordinary, unknown people have increasingly become national topics." She believes fear of having our "imperfections" go viral will negatively affect our actions. "I don’t want to live in a world where citizens are too afraid of public scorn to take a chance. Do you?" Read the full piece here. (More University of Missouri stories.)

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