Campus Free Speech

Breaking: Mizzou Prof Melissa Click Faces Misdemeanor Assault Charges

The worst campus censor of 2015 could go to jail for 15 days.

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Melissa Click
Youtube

The University of Missouri communications professor I dubbed "the scowling face of campus repression" has been slapped with a misdemeanor assault charge, according to the Columbia Prosecutor's Office.

Authorities decided to charge her with third-degree assault for threatening to sic some "muscle" on a student-journalist attempting to cover the rally at Mizzou in the wake of President Tim Wolfe's resignation in November. The charge, a Class C misdemeanor, carries a max sentence of 15 days in jail, The Kansas City Star reports.

Meanwhile, more than 100 Republican state legislators have called on Mizzou to fire Click, who previously held an honorary appointment in the journalism department.

I have previously pushed back against the notion that Click's serious lapse of judgment should result in her termination. (Many others disagreed.) I don't think I've changed my mind about that, although a conviction for assaulting a student seems like an excellent pretext to go ahead and fire her.

There certainly should be consequences for threatening a student-journalist, but social punishment is a powerful one, and Click has already faced that. If the additional step of sending her (briefly) to jail re-asserts the sovereignty of the First Amendment on public university campuses, perhaps it will be worth it. On the other hand, I worry that criminal sanctions for Click could actually have a chilling effect on speech, given that law enforcement is often eager to use public safety as an excuse to prohibit all kinds of expression.

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    1. This is very bad news for our system of ordered liberty; even silence would have been better than revealing such a horror to the public. The person who belongs in jail is the Provocateur of the Internet, not a distinguished professor of journalism. See the documentation of America’s leading criminal “satire” case at:

      http://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

    2. That she has supporters is proof positive this country has gone so far to the left it has fallen off a fascist, socialist cliff.

    3. Ordeal?

      Homey please.

  1. Yeah, I’m a little skeptical that the threat she made rises to the level of being criminal, even at the level of a misdemeanor. But it’s really a local issue.

    As for firing her, I’d say a journalism professor that doesn’t believe in open and free journalism probably shouldn’t have a job. But, again, that’s for Mizzou to decide.

    1. I’m a little skeptical that the threat she made rises to the level of being criminal,

      I smell a rat. The threat wasn’t the assault, the, err, assault was the assault, the laying on of hands. There are two flavors of misdemeanor assault in Missouri:

      (3) The person purposely places another person in apprehension of immediate physical injury; or

      (5) The person knowingly causes physical contact with another person knowing the other person will regard the contact as offensive or provocative;

      http://www.moga.mo.gov/mostatu…..00701.HTML

      I guess they charged her under the first one. I think they have a better case on the second.

      If the additional step of sending her (briefly) to jail re-asserts the sovereignty of the First Amendment on public university campuses, perhaps it will be worth it.

      I think she needs to go to jail, not to assert the sovereignty blah blah, but because the rule of law requires it.

      1. I think she needs to go to jail, not to assert the sovereignty blah blah, but because the rule of law requires it.

        Yeah, sending people to jail to “send a message” is awful.

        1. Firing her would send a message that Mizzou respects the freedom of speech.

          That’s not a message Mizzou wants to send.

          1. Firing her would send a message that Mizzou respects the freedom of speech.

            Let alone all the competency questions involved.

          2. ….and this is extremely telling of our supposed places of higher education. Whether she should go to jail for calling in “muscle” matters slightly less to me than the fact the school is *putting up* with a professor who 1. Teaches journalism 2.Called for muscle in general 3. Called for muscle against the school’s own students 4. These students were peaceful 5. These students were providing coverage for the press.

      2. I can’t see from the article where the call for muscle was the reason for the charge, but the actual physical interaction she had with the student journalist(s).

        1. If that’s the case then OK

        2. From the article, it seems like they are charging her for the “threat”, which would be “the person purposely places another person in apprehension of immediate physical injury”, rather than the actual physical contact, which would be “The person knowingly causes physical contact with another person knowing the other person will regard the contact as offensive or provocative;”

          Maybe the real question, why not charge her for both?

          1. IIRC she never made contact with the journalist but she incited others to do so and they did

            I’m wondering why they aren’t being charged for that actual contact because the video shows several students pushing him back.

      3. Rule of law is a fairy tale. They are punishing her only because she did what she did in view of national news cameras.

        1. It’s the same reason most jerks get fired from their jobs. You can get away with being a horrible employee only until you do so publicly enough to make a lot of people angry at your employer.

      4. The credibility of the criminal justice system is so low these days that the first question to come to mind about such charges is always “Is this real? Or is it a ham sandwich?”

      5. (3) The person purposely places another person in apprehension of immediate physical injury; or

        I think this alone is worth 15 days in jail, particularly when the person making the threat is a government employee.

      6. Where I grew up (and live once again) you actually have to hurt someone (like send them to the hospital) to be charged with assault. Once I was in my 20’s and moved to the DC area I found out that people could be jailed simply for punching someone in the face.

        1. Where’s that?

          I’m pretty satisfied with the regular, common law definition of assault.

        2. Someone needs to go back to day 1 of Criminal Law.

        3. Not a lawyer but I always thought that’s why the two terms assault and battery are separate legally. One does not equal the other, but conversationally people seems to equate the two.

    2. While I can appreciate your skepticism, imagine the story line if it was a male professor and a female student.

    3. How ridiculous, you clearly have no understanding of the law involved. Let me break it down for you.

      First off, this has nothing to do with Mizzou deciding anything, dingbat. They have no legal jurisdiction, it’s in the hands of the Columbia PD and the Columbia prosecutor.

      As for it being criminal, she didn’t make a threat, she called for an assault to be made by others on someone. A threat would have to rise to harrassment or being terroristic and she wasn’t charged under those statutes. Columbia law obviously includes recruiting others to assault someone as an assault, which is how most statutes of this type work. It’s like when a girl tells her BF to beat on someone and he does, she gets charged too. This is the same principal under which conspiracy charges operate.

      So many dummies who don’t understand what free speech even means. You aren’t legally allowed to use speech to directly cause others to cause immediate harm. This wasn’t political speech or general speech or calling for action later. It was speech calling for action by others present immediately. As such, it’s illegal in most jurisdictions.

      The only real question here is why she isn’t also charged with assault for shoving the camera guy before calling for “some muscle”. The commentary here makes me sick, freaking libertarians don’t even understand aggression or the law yet preen about their stupid ideas.

      1. While you might be correct, there’s no need to be such a dick about it.

        1. There is every reason to be dickish about the general lack of substance on display here.

          Not that he was being a dick, even if you were..

  2. On the other hand, I worry that criminal sanctions for Click could actually have a chilling effect on speech, given that law enforcement is often eager to use public safety as an excuse to prohibit all kinds of expression.

    Charging the journalism professor/adviser/administrator/seat warmer that threatened violence on a student reporter for exercising his 1st Amendment guarantee would chill free speech? I guess then that it was prudent that the Soviets never sanctioned the State Planning Committee for grossly mismanaging the economy, for otherwise it might have undermined the free market.

    1. Freedom extends to those that don’t believe in freedom, too.

      1. Freedom doesn’t entail the right to assault people.

        1. Of course not, but FS didn’t seem to me to be arguing about whether what she did rose to the level of assault.

          1. Of course not, but FS didn’t seem to me to be arguing about whether what she did rose to the level of assault.

            That’s right, I didn’t. Apparently you wish I were arguing that so your response would have some relevance. I argued that charging her with some crime, if there was one committed, isn’t exactly a chilling of free speech in this case.

            1. I don’t wish anything, just trying responding to what I thought you were saying.

              1. I don’t wish anything, just trying responding to what I thought you were saying.

                Fair enough. Cheers 🙂

            2. Neither would firing her just for trying to kick out the student journalist…even if it didn’t rate as an assault. The student’s both a representative of the university and a customer (since he likely pays tuition)…I’m all in favor of employers being allowed to fire employees for a) violating the standards the employer wishes to set, b) mistreating the customers, c) bringing discredit upon the employer’s reputation. And I don’t see it as a violation of free speech in any of those circumstances.

              Just because you shouldn’t be imprisoned for being an asshole doesn’t mean your employer has to keep you around if they don’t like what you have to say.

              1. Just because you shouldn’t be imprisoned for being an asshole doesn’t mean your employer has to keep you around if they don’t like what you have to say.

                Her employer is also free to keep her on staff, though this course of (non) action would actually have a chilling effect on free speech, which is the exact opposite of Robby’s view on firing her. How he could possibly conclude that firing her actually discourages free speech, mankind may never know. Professional courtesy is my best guess.

        2. And as I always heard it, the common term “assault and battery” shows that in legal terms, assault is the mere threat of battery, which is the physical beating that most people think of as assault.

          1. You mean battery doesn’t involve filling a tube sock with D-cells?

            1. Not by the C shore!

          2. I think that’s right in traditional common law. A lot of states include the battery part in assault, though, and don’t have distinct assault and battery charges.

    2. If I you’re giving a speech, and I walk up holding a baseball bat and tell you you to shut up or I’ll break your legs, then guess what, I’m committing assault, even if I don’t break your legs. Even if I don’t engage in violence, letting the threat of violence acceptable makes a farce of the first amendment.

  3. It’s unfortunate for Click that there seems to be a law that covers what she did as ‘criminal behavior’ (using RC Dean’s post above as reference). I guess at this point Click should be lucky she’s not facing rape charges, what with everything going on in campus life right now.

    I’m also guessing Big Government doesn’t smell so fresh when it’s pressing down on you.

    1. I’m also guessing Big Government doesn’t smell so fresh when it’s pressing down on you.

      I would hope this is the lesson she takes away from the whole ordeal, but I doubt it.

    2. You are a very silly, misinformed person. What she did qualifies under assault in virtually every jurisdiction in the U.S. and under common law. That you don’t understand the law, yet offer your opinion here should embarrass you. I bet you don’t even understand what assault means under the law.

      To then throw in rape charges, as though she’s being overcharged is even dopier. Here’s some advice. Stop talking. Research the law before you comment on them. The law isn’t based on your ignorant opinions.

      1. Wow, you really can’t comment without being a total douche, can you?

        1. I disagree, ScribblerG1 is spot on and I too am stunned that libertarians are in any way shape or form feeling sorry for the two bit hack of a professor.

      2. If you don’t get sarcasm, this is probably not the board for you.

      3. Wow, overreact much? He did not accuse her of rape, he is lampooning the extreme witch hunt nature of college campuses. But you are too hell bent on grinding your axe to see that.

        1. It was a lousy attempt at argument ad absurdum, one that failed.

          The only one deserving of lampooning is the idiot ‘teacher’ – an agent of the state who sought to suppress the First Amendment activities of a student – who is getting a hard and fast civics lesson.

    3. I think even small government is against assault.

      It’s one thing to make a vague remark about a woodchipper in a theoretical manner.

      It’s another to be in the face of someone, then turn to a mob and say “Let’s get some muscle here”, when you have some control over said mob. It’s clearly a threat backed up by potential violence from the mob.

  4. The University of Missouri communications professor I dubbed “the scowling face of campus repression”…

    I view it more as “the scowling face of all pent up angst, self loathing and impotent rage of the American left” but that’s admittedly a bit too wordy for print.

  5. There certainly should be consequences for threatening a student-journalist, but social punishment is a powerful one,

    Because look how well that’s reined in progtards like Obama.

    Personally, I’m in favor of university professors being at-will employees…of course I’m in favor of that for all employees pretty much.

  6. calling for muscle is a threat for physical harm, I don’t think it is legal to threaten people with physical harm which is separate from speech.

    1. How rational of you – but rationality seems in short supply on this thread, and the article. Pretty funny for a place called “Reason”. What a joke these preening, ignorant lightweight libertarians are.

      1. Actually, the least rational comments here seem to be coming from you. All you have done so far is cite your understanding of the laws in question. While they might be correct, people of the libertarian leaning philosophy would normally be against some of the laws you continue to cite. Add to that you don’t seem to be able to post a comment without being super condescending, and we have (what most in this thread would call) a troll.

        And I’m feeding it.

        I’m such a dumbass sometimes.

        1. shorter nikodemus: Professors should violate 1st Amendment Rights with no repercussion.

          1. Yeah, that’s exactly what he said.

            Deeeeeerrrrrrppppp.

          2. At least your username fits.

        2. Shorter nikodemus: Extremism in defense of liberty shouldn’t be “condescending.”

          Awful sensitive aren’t you? Have you considered avoiding the internet?

      2. You must be real popular at parties.

  7. She’s a government employee who used force to close public space and interfere with the functioning of a free press. A very modest misdemeanor charge is barely even a decent start on the appropriate response.

    1. It’s certainly a valid discussion to ask (and doubt) whether her actions rose to the level of criminal activity. But certain people in society enjoy more protections than others. For instance, if you lay hands on a Metro Bus driver, it’s an automatic felony.

      1. It’s really not all that worthy of discussion.

        As you’ve been told, in most jurisdictions a definition of simple assault includes credible threats of violence. No other actions required.

        Unless you also think flat Earth theory worthy of continued discussion…

  8. Let her be judged in one of the same kangaroo courts she no doubt supports for male students accused of “sexual assault” at her school. She gets no counsel, can confront no witnesses, can’t present evidence of innocence. Let the judge be the prosecutor and investigator. She’s lucky she’s already knows who the accuser is and what she is accused of doing. The standard for guilt is preponderance of the evidence. She’s been accused and is thus guilty. Case closed. Fire this fascist cunt.

    1. You know who else was a Fascist Cu … Oh, never mind.

  9. Yeah, though call. Let them face the repression they wield? I agree on protecting speech — even going easy on threats. Compare this to the woman who took away a pro-life poster (I’m not sure whether she threatened or pushed).

    I also think that firing people over isolated mistakes generally is a bad choice. Talk about intimidation and perfection, as well as uncertainty and abuse.

  10. I think Robby has a thing for anatomically dubious harridans.

  11. …but social punishment is a powerful one, and Click has already faced that.

    citation needed

    1. I wonder if Mx. Click thinks that the social reaction she has experienced is a net negative or positive.

      Because I bet she’s getting a lot of strokes from SJWs.

    2. She will suffer no social punishment for this.

      In her circles she has achieved martyrdom.

    3. In her circles I’m sure she is being seen as a hero and martyr to the cause of social justice.

  12. Forget Guy Fawkes

    Lets clickstart a Click Mask campaign for next Halloween

  13. People on the left are always comfortable bringing the violence.

    1. That handgesture by Click in the accompanying pic would make Lena Riefenstahl proud.

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  15. As satisfying as it would be to see her get jail time, I think it would be more satisfactory for her to get community service (and be publicly shamed) and a period of several months on probation where she’s forbidden to engage in any activities similar to those that got her into trouble.

    1. Plus, if she does get jail time it’s likely to be a weekend, so won’t really interfere with her life.

  16. I still don’t understand what Carrot Top has to do with Mizzou. Was he doing a sidewalk show when this happened?

  17. She should be prosecuted for assault. These people are dangerous, and wish to use violence on their political foes. These are the people who set up guillotines, and engage in things like Kristallnacht and the Night of the Long Knives. They want their made up “rights”, like safe spaces, but refuse to recognize the actual rights of others.
    She be fired because she is supposed to be an adult, teaching younger adults, not joining them in childish tantrums.

  18. How is the Justice Department’s investigation going into these Civil Rights violations through state violence?

  19. What on earth is wrong with this author? He thinks social consequences are enough? When a journalism professor commits an assault on a journalist to prohibit freedom of speech? What would she have to do to merit firing? Smash a bottle over his head? I don’t get Reason, they are so confused and conflicted sometimes. Just imagine this was a Christian shooing an atheist away from a Christian protest – ya think Reason would be so understanding? I’m sick of this soft-pedaling – Click needs to be fired. Now. And I hope she gets prosecuted too, as its an open and shut case. Period.

    1. Sadly many of the libertarian “elites” have a huge soft spot for progressives and seem to naturally lean towards progressive positions even when those same progressives would gladly see “muscle” hurt or kill libertarians if they could get away with it.

    2. You need to try harder. This final post isn’t nearly condescending or insulting enough.

  20. No need to have a crisis of morality. She is a scum bag.

  21. May I suggest she be ordered to eat all her meals at Cracker Barrel for a week. In addition, she should be required to attend a mud truck race.

  22. Though I feel bad for the student journalists in this case, every time the proggies are spotlighted for being the fascists they are, its like giving them more rope with which to hang themsleves. I say hang ’em high. (In the metaphorical sense, of course, since judges and lawyers seem to be lacking in their understanidng of sayings, axioms, hyperbole, metaphors, etc.)

    Plus these proggy nutjobs are waking up more independents and perhaps some small “l” liberals. Slightly off topic; where is Reason’s coverage of the Planned Parenthood video takers’ indictment??? I do not “get” that one. Well, maybe I do, speaking of proggies…

  23. Her Mad Jesty needs to learn that SHE is not the final arbiter of someone else’s rights. Her termination WILL go a long ways toward restoring good order. SHE was way out of line.

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  26. Throw the book at the bitch. She wanted a war. She got it.

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