Academia can be a very forgiving place.
A year ago the University of Missouri severed its relationship with infamous communications professor Melissa Click. Ms. Click had the misfortune of being caught on video grabbing a student’s camera and shouting “I need some muscle over here.”
The student was committing the crime of journalism on the MU campus during a public protest. Click, who taught journalism classes, obviously thought it inappropriate for a student journalist to cover the protest and attempted to muscle him–with a little male help–out of the action.
The incident further embarrassed the beleaguered university, which was pressured by the state legislature to let Click go. “This is all about racial politics,” Click told the Chronicle of Higher Education, whose audience is unmoored enough to believe her. “I’m a white lady. I’m an easy target.”
But no need to worry about Professor Click. Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, apparently needed a lecturer. Said Gonzaga dean Elisabeth Mermann-Jozwiak, “Dr. Click was hired through an extensive national search process that revealed her to be the most qualified and experienced candidate for the position.”
Added Communication Studies chair Jonathan Rossing, “After the national search and the screens took place, she emerged as the top candidate based on her record of teaching, scholarship.”
For the record, Click’s research has focused on such critical subjects as Lady Gaga, the vampire movie,Twilight, and the best-selling porn novel, Fifty Shades of Grey. According to Click, she is most interested in “popular culture texts and audiences disdained in mainstream culture, theories of gender and sexuality, and media literacy,” an apparent perfect fit for this backwater Catholic university.
As Gilbert Sewall observes in the American Spectator, “Mermann-Jozwiak and Rossing’s public statements are grossly dishonest about how Click’s appointment came about.” Sewall continues:
“No college conducts a genuine national search for a one-year, non-tenure track lecturer; the idea of a dean ordinarily being involved in such a hire is ridiculous.”
Sewell suggests, and with good cause, that the people who hired Click did so as a form of what is sometimes called “virtue-signaling.” They wanted to show the rest of academia that Gonzaga has something going for it more than just a good basketball team.