AAUP Asks Missouri to Lift Melissa Click Suspension

BY HENRY REICHMAN

The national AAUP has called on the University of Missouri to lift its suspension of Melissa A. Click, the assistant professor who was videotaped attempting to remove a student journalist from the site of a campus protest.  In a letter emailed yesterday to the Columbia campus’s interim chancellor, Henry C. (Hank) Foley, Associate Secretary Hans-Joerg Tiede said the suspension violated due process, specifically AAUP standards relating to the imposition of sanctions against faculty members as set forth in Regulations 5 and 7 of the AAUP’s Recommended Institutional Regulations on Academic Freedom and Tenure.

The letter continues:

An action to separate a faculty member from ongoing academic responsibilities prior to demonstration of stated cause in an appropriate proceeding is considered to be a suspension, which is justified, under Regulations 5c(1) and 7a, “only if immediate harm to the faculty member or others is threatened by continuance.” No threat of immediate harm has been suggested in Professor Click’s case. In fact, you are quoted in the Kansas City Star on January 25, 2016, as stating, “We are confident she does not pose any danger to any student.” Moreover, it seems clear that, in not affording her a hearing prior to placing her under suspension, she has been denied the safeguards of academic due process called for under the aforementioned standards. In addition to the apparent departure from standards promulgated by the Association, the suspension of Professor Click appears to depart from the university’s stated procedures, as the Executive Committee of the University of Missouri Faculty Council on University Policy noted in a statement released on January 29, 2016.

The Faculty Council Executive Committee wrote that the proper venue for the case was the normal process for investigating charges of faculty irresponsibility. The decision to file charges did not change any of the underlying facts, MU Faculty Council Chairman Ben Trachtenberg said. “I don’t see any reason why our normal processes would be inadequate,” he said.

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