After seeing what political and racial unrest that unfolded at MIZZOU last fall, it was a given that the school would suffer financially for their inaction and complacency, but that price might be heftier than anyone could imagine.
In a memo written by interim MU Chancellor Hank Foley, university officials project that the school will experience a very significant budget shortfall” due to lower enrollment and current students returning in the fall of 2016, the Columbia Daily Tribune reported.
“The anticipated declines—which total about 1,500 fewer students than current enrollment at MU— in addition to a small number of necessary investments are expected to leave us with an approximate $32 million budget gap for next year. A smaller entering freshman class will have continuing impact on finances as they progress toward their degrees at MU,” Foley wrote.
He added, “I must also point out that this shortfall does not take into account any additional budget losses that might come from a decline in the state appropriation for next year. As you know the state appropriation proposal to date would keep MU flat, but the UM System appropriation could be reduced by $7.6 million or more.”
The school also has instituted a hiring freeze, a 5 cut percent to “recurring general revenue budgets,” and no pay raises for faculty and staff unless employee have been promoted. In order to bolster enrollment, they plan on adding more out-of-state-recruiters.
Undeniably, this budget deficit is directly linked to the 2015 protests sparked by the school’s Black students who for years complained about the tumultuous racial climate at the predominately white university. According to school activists and students of color, they have repeatedly reported threats of racial violence and slurs, seeing Confederate flags flown and graffiti with racial epitaphs sprayed on campus, all of which they say school officials did very little to address.
But last fall, racial tensions hit an all-time high when protests erupted. Soon after with their coach’s support, the MIZZOU football team joined in, saying they would not play unless the school’s president Tim Wolfe resigned, which he did last November.
In the end, Foley believes his school will overcome in time. “While these budget challenges will affect our ability to deliver teaching, research and service to Missourians in the short-term, we also know that we have survived other stressors of this kind before,” he said.