After attracting national attention as the site of massive race-based protests back in November, the University of Missouri is still — still — seeking enough freshman and transfer students for the fall semester — which begins in August.
The school’s continuing scramble to find student bodies to fill taxpayer-funded classrooms comes six months after last semester’s eruption of Black Lives Matter protests rocked the Columbia, Mo. campus.
The November protests by the Concerned Student 1950 group centered largely on Jonathan Butler, the son of a millionaire railroad executive. Butler went on a hunger strike and convinced 32 black Mizzou football players to boycott all team activities.
There was a poop swastika. There were false reports of people wearing Ku Klux Klan hoods.
The protest also featured lots of camping out on an occupied campus quad, which served as a hub for fomenting unrest.
A now-fired professor, Melissa Click, threatened a student cameraman with mob violence when he tried to cover the campers and their ongoing protests.
Protesters accused President Timothy Wolfe of not doing enough to address racial tensions on campus. After the players announced their strike (which lasted all of one practice), Wolfe resigned and the school caved to a host of other protester demands.
Earlier this month, the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) published its annual list of all member schools that are still accepting applications for first-year or transfer students for next fall.
Mizzou is on NACAC’s 2016 college openings list. The school is still accepting freshman and transfer students, the organization says.
NACAC’s 2016 list of schools seeking students this late in the day is much longer than it has been in recent years. This year’s list contains well over 300 public and private schools. By way of comparison, notes Inside Higher Ed, NACAC’s 2015 list of colleges still seeking students in May contained only 225 colleges.
Most of the schools on the NACAC college openings list are directional-type, local state schools. There are very few flagship of quasi-flagship state schools. There are, however, a handful of fancypants private schools. (RELATED: Hey Kids! You Can STILL Enroll This Fall At These Fancypants Colleges For OVER $56,000 PER YEAR)
Mizzou has projected a loss of 1,500 students and has been facing the prospect of a gigantic $32 million budget shortfall.
“I am writing to you today to confirm that we project a very significant budget shortfall due to an unexpected sharp decline in first-year enrollments and student retention this coming fall,” MU interim chancellor Hank Foley wrote in a letter to faculty and staff in March. “I wish I had better news,” (RELATED: Mizzou Has HUGE Budget Gap)
The enrollment drop of 1500 students in fall 2016 — compared to last fall — is causing the big dip in Mizzou’s tuition income and, thus, is a primary cause of the whopping deficit.
The school budget has been cut 5 percent across the board. All hiring is being frozen (barring exceptional circumstances). Annual raises have been canceled.
In March, Foley, the chancellor, also had announced a new, more intensive effort to recruit potential Mizzou students by phone, email, and even via Skype.
In January, Mizzou announced that fall 2016 academic year applications were way, way down. At that time, the year-to-year decrease from applications for 2016 enrollment compared to 2015 had decreased by pretty close to 1,000. (RELATED: SURPRISE! Mizzou Sees Application Drop After Days Of Protests, Illusory Klan Hoods, Poop Swastika)
Emails from the University of Missouri’s computer network obtained by HeatStreet show that the activists who led last semester’s protests demanded generators and a fire pit to keep themselves warm and cozy as they camped out in tents on the campus quad during chilly November nights. (RELATED: Mizzou Black Activists Demanded A TOASTY FIRE PIT As They Protested Poop Swastika)
In a letter to school officials posted (but no longer visible) on his Facebook page, Butler, the affluent graduate student protest leader, indicated that he began his hunger strike because someone in a pickup truck allegedly shouted a racist insult at a black student government member, because state law prevents Planned Parenthood from performing on-campus abortions and because of the notorious poop swastaika. (RELATED: The Biggest, Dumbest Race Hoaxes And Fake Hate Crimes On Campus In 2015)
Earlier this week, officials at Mizzou announced that an ad hoc committee finally realized that the school could have avoided its still-reverberating nationwide humiliation if officials would have enforced a policy that has been in existence for decades. (Mizzou Officials Realize They Could Have Avoided National Humiliation By ENFORCING EXISTING RULES)
Turns out, Mizzou has a 67-year-old policy that explicitly prevents students from camping out on campus overnight.
Follow Eric on Twitter. Like Eric on Facebook. Send education-related story tips to email@example.com.