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Embattled Mizzou professor: Video "doesn't represent the good I was doing"

The University of Missouri says an investigation into assistant professor Melissa Click who sparked a national backlash is nearly done
Mizzou professor opens up about controversial videos 04:25

The University of Missouri says an investigation into Melissa Click, an assistant professor in communications who sparked a national backlash, is nearly done. The 45-year-old woman was caught on tape asking for "muscle" to keep a student journalist away from a campus protest. In a separate incident, that same teacher was seen cursing at police.

But in an interview seen only on "CBS This Morning," the embattled teacher told her side of the story.

Mizzou faculty under fire for blocking student journalists 03:08

When asked about her behavior, Click said she regrets her actions, reports CBS News correspondent Anna Werner.

She was the woman seen at a University of Missouri protest last fall ordering a student journalist away from a group of protesters on the public quad.

"You need to get out! You need to get out!" she could be seen shouting.

"I actually don't," the student responded in the video.

Her actions brought her a misdemeanor assault charge and widespread condemnation. Now, she's apologizing.

"Were you appalled by your behavior when you watched the video?" Werner asked Click.

"I was embarrassed by my behavior. I believe it doesn't represent who I am as a person," Click said. "It doesn't represent the good I was doing there that day, and you know, certainly I wish I could do it over again."

Click said she was trying to protect the protesting students, who she said were under threat, and wasn't sure the man filming was a real journalist.

"He introduced himself only as media, and came at me with a camera," Click said.

"But that's a camera, not a weapon," Werner pointed out.

"Sure, but it also wasn't a big camera. It could have been a phone-sized camera. It wasn't -- again, didn't say 'professional journalist' to me," Click said.

CBS News asked if she would review the tape of that incident with us. She declined.

But on the tape, she is clearly heard identifying the student journalist as a "reporter" before calling for "muscle" to remove him.

"All right, who wants to help me get this reporter out of here, I need some muscle over here, help me get him out!" Click can be heard saying in the video.

"Is calling for 'muscle out here' respectful?" Werner asked.

"It was a mistake. I never, ever meant that as a call for violence," Click said. "It was just one of those things that was said in a heated moment."

But another video released last week by the Columbia Missourian newspaper showed Click at an earlier protest during homecoming in October, cursing at a police officer who she said pushed her.

"Get your f***ing hands off me!" Click could be heard saying.

"Get out of the road or get arrested!" the officer could be heard responding in the video.

"You can understand where a lot of people watching those videos are saying, 'She's got a problem,'" Werner said.

"People who know me don't feel that way. People who were there that day, don't feel that way," Click said. "They know what it was like to be there. They know I was there with the best of intentions and they know it was a really tricky situation."

The university's governing board is now investigating.

"What is it about the videos to you that is most damaging?" Werner asked David Steelman, a board member.

"The call for muscle, no question about it," Steelman said. "Imagine yourself as a parent and that's your child that a faculty member calls for muscle on. ... You do not pour gasoline on an already volatile situation."

In December, more than 100 Mizzou faculty members signed a letter of support, calling her "an ally to students" and someone with an "outstanding record of teaching and research." But Click now worries she won't get a fair hearing.

"I believe that the actions of the curators and the chancellors set up an environment where I can't be fairly evaluated," Click said.

"So if that's the case, what happens after that?" Werner said.

"Well, I fight for my job. I love my job, I'm good at my job. I made mistakes, I don't think I should be judged entirely on those mistakes, and I'm going to fight for what I think is fair," Click said.

In a statement, the interim chancellor called Click's actions at the homecoming event "appalling." The communications professor is currently suspended, but Steelman insisted she will get a fair hearing, and that the 12 years she has spent teaching at the university will be considered.

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