MU professor pleads "not guilty" to assault charge

Melissa Click was captured on video attempting to force reporters out of protest space

MU professor pleads "not guilty" to assault charge

COLUMBIA, Mo. - ABC 17 News has confirmed a MU Communication professor has been charged with class C or 3rd degree assault for her actions during the MU campus protests this past fall.

On Tuesday, Dr. Melissa Click pleaded not guilty to the charge, and waived her arraignment.

ABC 17 News learned Tuesday that the UM Board of Curators will meet Tuesday afternoon to vote on an "action item."

Interim Chancellor Hank Foley announced Monday afternoon that Click will keep her job for the time being.

Foley said she is currently working from home and will continue to do so the rest of the week.

Foley said a task force made up of scholars, MUPD, administrators, and students will sort through everything that happened on November 9. The task force will help determine if any other action will need to be taken.

"When we deviate from our processes, we tend to make mistakes. We have our ways of doing things that are not hasty," said Foley in regard to the task force process.

"People are held accountable for their actions at the University. This is not being looked over."

Foley said "Dr. Click is frankly aggrieved by this. I doubt she would do anything like this again."

MU Police gave documents to prosecutors on its investigation into Click back in November.

Click is scheduled to be in municipal court for a hearing Tuesday.

Click was seen in several videos confronting journalists and blocking their access to protests on the MU campus through physical and verbal intimidation.

The MU School of Journalism revoked her courtesy title following the incident.

Some MU faculty voiced their support for Click in a signed letter, but several lawmakers called for her termination earlier this month.

Eric Schmitt, who is running for state treasurer, started a petition calling for Click's firing.

Columbia State Representative Caleb Jones told ABC17 News the charges are appropriate.  "While the University of Missouri seems to have no accountability the judicial system in Missouri does," said Jones.

Last week, a member of the UM Board of Curators joined the call for her firing.

You can read and watch complete coverage on the MU campus protests here.

The punishment for third degree assault is listed as up to 15 days in jail and up to a $500 fine according to several defense attorney websites.

The following is a description of Class C Assault from Missouri State Statutes:

565.070. 1. A person commits the crime of assault in the third degree if:

(1) The person attempts to cause or recklessly causes physical injury to another person; or

(2) With criminal negligence the person causes physical injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon; or

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

(4) The person recklessly engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of death or serious physical injury to another person; or

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

(6) The person knowingly causes physical contact with an incapacitated person, as defined in section 475.010, which a reasonable person, who is not incapacitated, would consider offensive or provocative.

2. Except as provided in subsections 3 and 4 of this section, assault in the third degree is a class A misdemeanor.

3. A person who violates the provisions of subdivision (3) or (5) of subsection 1 of this section is guilty of a class C misdemeanor.

4. A person who has pleaded guilty to or been found guilty of the crime of assault in the third degree more than two times against any family or household member as defined in section 455.010 is guilty of a class D felony for the third or any Consideration will be given to the relationship between the conviction and the responsibilities of the position that is or will be held. A relevant job-related conviction is grounds for termination of employment or non-selection of an applicant.

The University of Missouri System says it has the right to check criminal records of any employee or applicant.

"Conviction is defined as including all felonies and misdemeanors except minor traffic violations in relation to any position that does not require driving. For positions that require operation of a motor vehicle the term conviction shall include minor traffic violations. Falsification of application materials, including failure to disclose criminal convictions, is grounds for termination of employment or non-selection of an applicant. (HR 504)"subsequent commission of the crime of assault in the third degree when a class A misdemeanor. The offenses described in this subsection may be against the same family or household member or against different family or household members."

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