Mizzou prof. receives over 1,000 emails over her calls for 'muscle'
On November 9, 2015, Melissa Click made a decision that would drastically impact her life when she blocked University of Missouri student Mark Schierbecker from filming a confrontation between protesters and photojournalist, Tim Tai.
When Schierbecker refused to leave, she grabbed at him and shouted, “Who wants to help me get this reporter out of here? I need some muscle over here!”
The twelve second video went viral and it wasn’t long before Click’s inbox was inundated with mail from those concerned about First Amendment rights.
Mizzou recently handed over roughly 1,100 of those emails to The Chronicle of Higher Education. The missives ranged from threats, to outrage, to angry notes from journalists, to disappointment, and a scant few letters of support.
The Chronicle found themost popular word choices in the emails were “shame,” “ashamed,” and “shameful” which appear 238 times.
The text of the First Amendment was sent 14 times and amendment mentioned 242 additional times.
Over 80 people called for her to be fired and there were also many who compared her to fascists.
These are some highlights The Chronicle received:
“Your actions would have been at home in Putin’s Russia or the Ayatollah's Iran. I shudder to think of what you are teaching your students.”
“I support you, Melissa,” one email’s subject line read. “Psych! You’re an asshole.”
“I’m very interested in Mizzou’s doctoral program. I currently have a master’s degree in media theory and was curious how many semesters it would take before I was allowed to enroll in Barricading the Fourth Estate: How to Effectively Suppress the News Media in a Public Sphere.”
"I hope your mother dies of brain cancer."
"I plan to belly laugh when someone shanks you or sets you on fire in the next week."
There were a few emails which encouraged her to continue to defend herself. An English professor from the University of Arkansas at Monticello wrote, “I’ve been telling everyone, including my students: I would’ve done the same damn thing. Congratulations, and keep up the good work.”
One of the angriest emails came from a person who wrote, “Sport should be made of you, in which you are passed around a cell block for a week straight, then cut loose to be hunted down and killed. If hell exists I want to be there to take part in your eternal agony. You do not deserve a marked grave."
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @brianledtke