News & Politics

Mizzou Faces 25% Enrollment Drop, $32M Budget Deficit After Racial Protests

Supporters of Concerned Student 1950 celebrate following University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe's resignation announcement Monday, Nov. 9, 2015, at the protest movement's camp area in Columbia, Mo. (Nick Schnelle/Columbia Daily Tribune via AP)

The University of Missouri campus is facing a major backlash after being rocked by racial protests last year, and now the school is in “damage-control mode,” the Washington Times reports. In an email to students this week, Interim MU Chancellor Hank Foley said MU is anticipating a decline of 1,500 entering freshman students which amounts to nearly 25 percent of the fall 2015 freshman class. Also, to close a projected $32 million shortfall for the coming fiscal year, the school has enacted a hiring freeze and will cut 5 percent to all recurring general revenue budgets.

Mr. Foley said the drop in enrollment is “unexpected” and made no mention of the Concerned Student 1950 protests that led to the highly publicized November resignations of the president of the University of Missouri System and the chancellor of the flagship Columbia campus. In February, an assistant professor involved in the protests was also fired.

“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. I wish I had better news,” Mr. Foley wrote in the email obtained by Fox Sports.

The causes of Mizzou’s woes are not difficult to identify.

The die was cast last fall, when the university’s president and chancellor resigned their posts amid charges that they weren’t doing enough to handle reports of racism of campus. Show-Me-Staters were bewildered because no one was able to “show them” what these administrators actually did to deserve being ousted.

While national media focused on protests over perceived racial microaggressions, local media put a spotlight on the dozens of very real black-on-white violent assaults that had simultaneously occurred on or near the campus in Columbia, Missouri. In one horrific case, the son of of a former state rep was beaten so badly he had to undergo facial reconstruction surgery. Parents of college-bound students took notice.

They also took note when Professor Melissa Click was caught on video calling for “muscle” to expel student journalists from the campus “safe space.” Later on, they were not impressed when a group of 116 Mizzou faculty members released a letter standing in full support of Click.

It took four months, but finally in late February, Mizzou’s board of curators voted 4-2 in favor of Click’s termination, a decision she has already appealed with support from the American Association of University Professors.

During the height of the racial hysteria on campus last fall, many frightened and confused Mizzou students packed their bags and went home and the school had to cancel exams due to light attendance.

No one should be surprised that MU’s enrollment has plunged in the wake of this chaos.

College football analyst Clay Davis blamed the protesters in a recent post at Fox Sports:

Congrats to the Mizzou protesters on their fake protest. You — in conjunction with your idiot football players who also went on strike — have nearly killed a great university over a poop swastika, an alleged off campus racial slur that may not have even happened, and one racial slur on campus from a non-student in the past year.

Davis added a postscript: “almost all current Mizzou students hate the protesters and think they’re full of sh*t.” And he linked to an open letter from concerned University of Missouri student to Concerned Student 1950:

You fail to see that your actions have real-world repercussions. You’ve indiscriminately harmed thousands of current and former Mizzou students. You’ve damaged the value of our degrees and hurt our career prospects. You’ve taken our university, something we should be proud of, and dragged it incessantly through the dirt. It’s time for you to see the big picture — your actions affect us all. It’s time to act like adults.

Unfortunately, any racial healing at Mizzou is going to have to wait just a little bit longer. According to Davis, race huckster Spike Lee is currently filming a documentary on campus for ESPN “to glorify the fake protests.”

“That should really help enrollment too,” Davis quips.