A University of Missouri communications professor who called for “some muscle” to get a student journalist to back off during campus protests in November was charged on Monday with misdemeanor assault, prosecutors said.
The student journalist, whose video of the incident during anti-racism protests went viral, had filed a complaint against Melissa Click with university police.
Click, an assistant professor in the university’s communication department, and university officials could not be reached immediately for comment.
In the video shot by student Mark Schierbecker, Click can be seen calling on protesters to remove Schierbecker and a student photographer from a spot in the school quad where protesters had set up an encampment which they claimed was private space.
Click’s hand can be seen blocking the video image at least twice. She issued an apology for her actions.
Schierbecker said in a statement on Monday that Click’s actions reflect a broader problem facing students and journalists on college campuses.
“I don’t want anyone to assume that because the city is dealing with her criminal behavior, that this problem goes away,” he said. “I am urging the University to enact reasonable protections that ensure journalists can gather news without being strong-armed.”
Schierbecker, a 22-year-old senior majoring in history and German who plans to pursue a career in journalism, said in an interview that he was pleased that Click was charged.
Click will be issued a summons to appear and given a court date, according to the Columbia, Missouri, city prosecutor’s office. The charge of third-degree assault, a class C misdemeanor, carries a sentence of up to 15 days in jail and a fine of $300.
(Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)