So if you haven’t seen the article on the mainpage, Melissa Click (“I need muscle” professor from MU) was fired. It seems like 90% of the people are asking why this is such a big deal, that her firing seems reasonable. My problem with this standpoint is it misses a very important factor in why Click was fired.
Full disclosure: I do know Click, not well, and haven’t talked to her since the incident, but this isn’t just some random person to me.
This article does a decent job of giving a full background of everything. While most of the country has lost focused on Mizzou since protest have died down a bit Click’s employment has been headlining local news for some time now. This is because state lawmakers have been threatening Mizzou’s budget unless they fire Click.
In January, 117 state lawmakers signed a letter calling for her termination. Ms. Click’s university colleagues countered with a letter of support for the embattled professor signed by more than 100 faculty members.
The standoff continued in February. A top state lawmaker this week threatened $7.7 million in budget cuts for the University of Missouri system, including a $400,000 cut for the flagship campus: the equivalent of the combined salaries of Ms. Click, her department chair, and her dean. (The student who had filmed Ms. Click at the protest asked legislators to stop using the video as a pretext for cuts.)
State lawmaker are trying to have say over university’s personnel. They are opening threatening to take away much needed funding, risking students’ education along with thousands of job over Click’s employment status. Lawmaker are doing the same thing they accused student athletes of doing by risking financial damages to the university to prove a point. Ironically, the same lawmakers wanted to revoke all scholarships to the students when they took a stand. I don’t need to go into the difference of students holding protest over continuous and ignored racism versus lawmakers (you know the government) denying funding to Mizzou over an employment issue.
Thanks to the Missouri’s lawmakers, Click was denied due process. She was terminated by the board, not through usual channels.
Faculty leaders at the university were upset by the board’s decision to take Ms. Click’s fate into its own hands. In a letter last month, the Faculty Council on the flagship campus asked the board to back off and let the university judge Ms. Click’s actions according to a procedure, spelled out in its bylaws, that was designed to “protect the rights of accused faculty while also protecting the university’s interest in identifying and responding to faculty irresponsibility.”
Faculty leaders on the university system’s other campuses this week endorsed that position. The American Association of University Professors has also weighed in, expressing concern that Ms. Click was being denied due process.
I’m not sure I disagree with Click being fired, though I do think it is a bit extreme, but I am 100% against how this process happened.