When professor Melissa Click called for “some muscle” to remove a journalist from a public space, it’s unlikely she had any clue what would happen next. Not only is she no longer employed at the University of Missouri, but the school is being crushed by low enrollment. Several dorms have been shuttered.
The surrounding community has been hit, too — the rental market is reeling from the decline in students:
The decrease in enrollment at MU is leaving apartment companies short of their leasing goals.
“We’re not where we want to be quite yet, quite frankly most places aren’t where they want to be,” said David Cochran, District Flats general manager.
In an effort to increase interest, District Flats on 8th street has reduced rent prices on some units by $200 and waived security fees. Cochran said he has not had to let go any staff or significantly decrease resident perks.
Cochran said District Flats and other complexes traditionally aim to be full by mid-May, but are now having to lease through the summer to reach maximum occupancy.
Liz Young, community manager for The Reserve at Columbia, said it is not concerned about the occupancy as of now, but is planning to budget accordingly if the decrease continues.
“We opened lower than what we had projected,” Young said.
She said management has confidence the enrollment numbers at MU will rise with time.
Unfortunately, the declining numbers aren’t the result of a poor economy or any other cyclical factor that will eventually rebound on its own. Missouri’s low enrollment is the direct result of the social justice meltdown from two years ago. Parents and potential students don’t trust that the campus student body is safe, or that the faculty is worth the expense.
Enrollment at the University of Missouri won’t simply rebound with time. It will rebound only if the campus undergoes a tremendous amount of change in students, faculty, and administration, and figures out how to convince potential customers that everything has been fixed.