Poor public relations plus poor leadership equals hard times. That’s basically what Mizzou as an entire university is dealing with at the moment.
Amid budget cuts and an anticipated 7.4 percent drop in enrollment, leaders at the University of Missouri-Columbia are expecting to trim about 400 positions.
Most of the jobs would be cut through attrition, with fewer than 100 layoffs projected. Interim Mizzou chancellor Garnett Stokes announced the budget details at a campus forum Monday.
Mizzou has already said it is expecting its smallest freshman class in two decades. The enrollment drop discussed Monday is the first estimate pertaining to the school’s entire enrollment. [...]
At the forum, leaders pointed to the enrollment drop partly as fallout from the declining number of high school graduates across the region, as well as ongoing “public perception concerns” since the fall of 2015 when protests that centered on issues of race led to two top leaders’ resigning.
Now, I would love to find out exactly who isn’t coming to Mizzou anymore as a result of the 2015 unrest. Hopefully someone is looking into the demographics of that because the data could tell quite a few different stories on that one, and I honestly don’t know what I expect the data to say. But I digress.
During a Monday budget forum, Vice Provost for Enrollment Management Pelema Morrice said “the vast majority of our undergraduate enrollment concerns” are caused by public perception. That can be traced to the demonstrations and their aftermath.
Just as the football team helped draw attention to the protests, athletics can be part of the solution, Stokes and Sterk said.
Stokes called athletics “one of the windows into Mizzou.” Sterk said winning will help bring students back.
“We want to be visible and I think we can really help the university come back from this lull in admissions,” Sterk said. “If we’re successful, I think overall it helps the university’s overall impression in the state.”
(Now, it’s definitely important to highlight that the football protests indeed drew attention to the issues and didn’t cause them, of course.)
Relying on the Flutie Effect (a.k.a. the 2007 Mizzou effect) to save your school probably isn’t the best plan, but a happy football (or basketball!) run this coming year wouldn’t hurt. Let’s try it. And there might be reason for optimism on the gridiron.
- Four-star Cass Tech (Mich.) cornerback Kalon Gervin recently decommitted from Notre Dame and has interest in Mizzou ... along with like 26 other schools.
- Mizzou Baseball’s last home game of the year went according to plan: the Tigers thumped EKU, 13-4. Freshman Kameron Misner drove in four runs and hit his sixth home run of the year. So now the Tigers head to Knoxville with a lot to play for. If they win the series, then take a game in the SEC Tournament, they’ll be at 35 wins, and while the RPI still won’t be great, I’m guessing not many 35-win SEC teams miss the NCAAs. (An even better idea: sweep the Vols, then win a couple of games in Hoover.)
- Mizzou Men’s Golf improved to ninth on Day 2 of the NCAA College Grove Regional. Matt Echelmeier shot 2-under to lead the way. The Tigers are one shot out of seventh, but they’re 12 shots out of fifth, which is the cutoff for advancement to the NCAA Championships. They need one hell of a surge.