Click is the bespectacled Mizzou faculty member who, in a now-viral video, can be seen ordering a student journalist to leave a public area of the state-run campus where other students protesting the university's handling of racial incidents had set up tents and held meetings. At one point, Click seems to suggest removing the journalist by force: “Who wants to help me get this reporter out of here?” she asks. “I need some muscle over here.”
Click has been widely criticized for her actions, including notably by prominent members of the media. The Post's media blogger, Erik Wemple, said any staff that were involved in what happened should be fired. Colleagues were considering revoking her courtesy appointment to the university's journalism school Tuesday afternoon, according to the Columbia Missourian, with the school’s dean telling the student newspaper that Click clearly violated 1st Amendment principles.
Click is an assistant professor in the university’s communications department, which is separate from the journalism school, but she has a courtesy appointment that “allows members of one academic unit to serve on the graduate committees of students from other academic units,” the Missourian reported.
And for some conservatives, Click is now the ultimate bogeywoman — an “academic fascist” in the words of Fox News commentator Todd Starnes, who epitomizes the liberal, politically correct thought-policing that conservatives have long decried.
Limbaugh, despite some trouble with Click’s name, captured the sentiment on his radio program Tuesday:
They’re demanding safe spaces at places like Yale and at Mizzou and many other college campuses. What are safe spaces? Where they are not subjected to people that disagree and where they’re not subjected to symbols that hurt their feelings, and they’re not subjected to negative comments, and they’re not subjected to jokes that they don’t like.
In other words, they are shielded and protected from reality. They are basically — I don't know any word to describe them but cowards. They’re just scared to death of reality. They're scared to death of life. And they have been raised and educated to believe that it is legitimately possible to shield yourself from anything that’s upsetting.
And if somebody gets through that shield and succeeds in upsetting you, then they have to go. We've got to do something about them. We can't handle symbols that offend us. We can’t handle speech that bothers us.
Contrast Limbaugh's take with what Tim Tai, the student journalist on the receiving end of Click's directive to leave, said about the whole episode.
Tai was, and remains, steadfast in his assertion that he had a right to be there, snapping photos and requesting interviews with protesters. But he clearly doesn't want the public conversation about Missouri to be hijacked and redirected to political talking points about the plague of political correctness. The story out of Columbia is fundamentally about the racial incidents and the responses that so upset students that they successfully pressured the university's president to resign, with football players leading the way.
Tai isn't likely to get his wish — at least not with people who now see this story morphing from one about racism into a commentary on the lack of political dialogue in academia. Click presented a perfect opportunity to talk about something else, instead.