Sign of the times: MSU up, MU down

MU sign
By: 
GARY SOSNIECKI

It takes guts and a generous helping of arrogance for a university to post a billboard just outside the hometown of another university proclaiming that you’re that community’s “college team.”

I’m embarrassed that it’s my alma mater, the University of Missouri, that makes such a boast just east of Springfield on an Interstate 44 billboard that reads: “MIZZOU – SPRINGFIELD’S COLLEGE TEAM,” along with some smaller type that’s impossible to read through the tall weeds at 70 mph.

Let’s see if I have this right:

The University of Missouri was the subject of a story last month in The New York Times that almost caused the Missouri River to flow backwards. The story recounted how the racially charged protest of 2015 has, directly or indirectly, resulted in a 35-percent decrease in freshman enrollment this fall. “Now, with budget cuts due to lost tuition and a decline in state funding, the university is temporarily closing seven dormitories and cutting more than 400 positions, including those of some nontenured faculty members, through layoffs and by leaving open jobs unfilled.”

Meanwhile, Missouri State University in Springfield, which also has had a decline in state funding, “is on track to break an enrollment record for the seventh year in a row, an influx driven largely by incoming freshmen,” according a story in the Springfield News-Leader headlined, “MSU enrollment soars even as Mizzou slips.” Another News-Leader story discusses a proposed seven-story residence hall for MSU that would include about 405 beds, a 311-car parking garage, a large dining hall and 2,300 square feet of retail space. “In recent years,” the newspaper reported, “the 11 residence halls on campus . . . have opened at or above capacity.”

For the complete column, see the Weekend print edition of The Daily Record, or view the e-Edition online.

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