Melissa Click

What was the Accusation?

On November 9, 2015, University of Missouri communication professor, Melissa Click, made national headlines for attempting to suppress student journalists covering a campus protest, adding to the flurry of media attention already surrounding a major controversy. While participating in student demonstrations against the university administration’s alleged indifference toward reports of racism on campus, Click had attempted to eject student reporter, Tim Tai, from a “safe zone” created by protesters. As a result of her errant behavior, Click eventually faced suspension, a misdemeanor assault charge, and official dismissal from the university. The personal repercussions of Melissa Click’s actions extended beyond institutional reprimands. A video of the professor’s attempt to expel the student journalist, which included a vivid call for “muscle” to help in the removal, quickly went viral, inciting a firestorm of vitriolic attack against Click via her personal Twitter account as well as through the newly created feed #FireMelissaClick. One tweet called her “a complete disgrace and embarrassment to her profession.” Another argued that “she deserves to be ridiculed and disgraced.” Even more hateful threats flooded Click’s university e-mail inbox, threats that were later released as a matter of public record. One person, for example, emailed her the following invective: “I plan to belly laugh when someone shanks you or sets you on fire.” Another person wrote: “I hope you are gang-raped by some of the very animals with whom you’re so enamored.” Various journalists also chimed in, albeit in a much less hostile manner, to suggest that Click was a poor representative of the academic profession because of her seemingly blatant disregard for First Amendment rights of free speech and press.  After a long process, Click was eventually fired by the University of Missouri in February of 2016 and hired that same year in September by Gonzaga university to a one year lecturer appointment.

Key Apologia Strategies:

Mortification, Defeasibility, Good Intentions



Melissa Click’s Official Statement:


Ex-Mizzou professor Melissa Click, Fired over protest clash, Gets new job (2016, September 4). NBC News. Retrieved from:

Huguelet, A., & Victor, D. (2015, November 9). ‘I need some muscle’: Missouri activists block journalists. New York Times. Retrieved from:

Kingkade, T. (2015, November 10). Mizzou professor Melissa Click gets death And rape threats. Huffington Post. Retrieved from:

Stein, K. A., Barton, M. H., & Paul, W. B. (2017). 140 characters to say “I hate you”: Melissa Click, racism, and the media circus at Mizzou. Relevant Rhetoric, 8, 1-15.