Senator Dave Schatz Weekly Column for Jan. 7

We are all familiar with the recent protests at the University of Missouri. No matter how you feel about the protests, I think we can all agree that the professors and employees of the university should work to promote stability on the campus and not work against their own students and university. One particularly egregious example of a professor misbehaving was caught on tape by a student journalist who was attempting to cover recent protests but was forcibly prevented from exercising his First Amendment rights as a member of the press.

You don’t have to take my word for it, I invite you to watch the full video at this news link: Melissa Click, the professor of communications in question, can be seen preventing this student journalist from doing his job on public property in a public space. When I first saw this video, I assumed that Prof. Click would be terminated immediately. If our “flagship” university, with its nationally-renowned journalism school, cannot be expected to stand up for the First Amendment, then who can? To my surprise, Ms. Click still remains an employee of the University of Missouri, where she studies pop culture issues like “50 Shades of Grey” and Lady Gaga.

Setting aside the question of how worthwhile Prof. Click’s research is, I believe it is undeniable that her actions against student journalism warrant her immediate termination and I am surprised that the university has not already taken the obvious step of firing her. That is why I joined 17 of my colleagues in the Missouri Senate in calling for the university to terminate Ms. Click immediately. You can view of letter here:

I want my constituents to know that I take the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights very seriously. While we often hear about threats against the Second Amendment, we must be vigilant against threats to all our constitutional rights and that is why I am standing with my fellow senators and standing up for free speech and freedom of the press. I expect to work closely with my fellow senators to learn more about the university’s reaction to these events during the 2016 session, which began just this week.

Thank you for reading this weekly column. Please contact my office at (573) 751-3678 if you have any questions.