Of course they did: Jesuit university hires infamous, fired Mizzou prof Melissa Click

File under “What were they thinking?” (via The Kansas City Star site):

Former University of Missouri professor Melissa Click has a new job at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., according to the university’s website.  Click was a communications professor at the University of Missouri until she was fired in February after she was filmed calling for “some muscle” to eject a student videographer from protests at the Concerned Student 1950 camp on the Columbia campus.

The video posted afterward went viral. Faculty, students, alumni and others lambasted Click. At Gonzaga, Click is listed as a lecturer on the faculty page of the university’s website.

Click’s bio on the Gonzaga site states:

Dr. Melissa A. Click’s research interests center on popular culture texts and audiences, particularly texts and audiences disdained in mainstream culture. Her work in this area is guided by audience studies, theories of gender and sexuality, and media literacy. Recent research projects involve romance readers, the impact of social media in fans’ relationship with celebrities, masculinity and male fans, and the inevitable changes fans experience in their fandom over time. Her scholarship has been published in Television & New Media, the International Journal of Cultural Studies, Men & Masculinities, Popular Communication, Popular Music & Society, and Transformative Works & Cultures. She is the co-editor of Bitten by Twilight and the Routledge Companion to Media Fandom (forthcoming). NYU Press will publish her forthcoming edited collection, Dislike, Hate, and Anti-fandom in the Digital Age.

KC Star‘s Ian Cummings further reports that Elisabeth Mermann-Jozwiak, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Gonzaga, “said in a written statement that Gonzaga officials knew of Click’s recent history and were confident in welcoming her to the university.” Mermann-Jozwiak stated: “Dr. Click was hired through an extensive national search process that revealed her to be the most qualified and experienced candidate for the position…”

The most qualified and experienced candidate for the position? Really? In all of the United States? Who knew that the ranks communications professors were so thin? And who knew that a professor who demonstrated such a pathetic lack of communication skills—as seen by millions on news reports and on YouTube—would be touted for her astounding talent, which apparently “includes an extensive record of publication”?

And what of the fact that Click is not just controversial (to put it rather benignly) but fairly toxic?

Enrollment at the University of Missouri plummeted after the protests and Melissa Click debate in national media.  Numerous outlets reported applications from African American students dropped by 78 percent for the fall semester. The university’s newspaper reported overall freshman enrollment was down by almost 25 percent.

Interestingly enough, Click’s hire at GU seems to be unpopular across the political spectrum, with Robby Soave, an associate editor at Reason.com, musing, “I don’t really think Click’s life should be ruined over one ill-considered moment, and Gonzaga is free to employ her if it wants to. But I’d prefer to see some actual contrition from Click first. How can it possibly be the case that she is currently the most qualified person to teach communications (of all things), when she doesn’t even seem capable of learning from her own mistakes?”

That is, of course, a most reasonable point.

A GU grad I’ve known for several years simply stated: “This has provided a rare moment of unity between my liberal GU grad friends and conservative GU grad friends. I’ve yet to come across anyone who thinks this is a good hire, except for one fellow alum who is also a prof at GU.” 

And then there is the matter of Click’s academic specialties, which run the gamut from articles on “Lady Gaga, fan identification, and social media” to “Fifty Shades of postfeminism: Contextualizing readers’ reflections on the erotic romance series”, not to mention a co-authored manuscript entitled ““Let’s Hug It Out, B****”: Audience response to hegemonic masculinity in Entourage“.

 Is this the sort of amoral swill that students at a Catholic university should be enduring while paying top dollar? Then again, I’ve been told by people who have years of direct experience with GU that it is, simply put, no longer Catholic in any substantial sense. Yes, there are still some very fine Catholics working there, but the school as a whole has essentially abandoned any semblance of Catholic culture or mission.

Forget about getting some muscle. How about getting some grey matter? 


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About Carl E. Olson 1116 Articles
Carl E. Olson is editor of Catholic World Report and Ignatius Insight. He is the author of Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?, Will Catholics Be "Left Behind"?, co-editor/contributor to Called To Be the Children of God, co-author of The Da Vinci Hoax (Ignatius), and author of the "Catholicism" and "Priest Prophet King" Study Guides for Bishop Robert Barron/Word on Fire. He is also a contributor to "Our Sunday Visitor" newspaper, "The Catholic Answer" magazine, "The Imaginative Conservative", "The Catholic Herald", "National Catholic Register", "Chronicles", and other publications.