COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMOX) – A University of Missouri curator isn’t sugar-coating why he thinks enrollment is declining at the school’s flagship Columbia campus.
David Steelman tells KMOX’s Mark Reardon the administration got lazy when enrollment figures were good, and it wasn’t “chasing the high-achieving students” or sending recruiters to poor areas of the state.
“Simply, the University of Missouri – it’s been over five, six, seven, eight years – got fat and happy,” he says.
Steelman tells Reardon Mizzou started losing high-achieving students to competing schools out of state, and there’s still the perception of a diversity problem.
He says the mishandling of the 2015 protests and subsequent firing of professor Melissa Click didn’t help matters.
Starting in June, the University of Missouri will launch two scholarship initiatives — one to entice high-achieving students, and another based on financial need — to help combat falling enrollment in Columbia.
“It’s going to allow us not only to go to those students who do deserve our help – in Ferguson and North St. Louis – but also in the Bootheel, in Southwest Missouri, in Barry County,” he says.
Lower enrollment also means less money coming in, Steelman says, and he thinks people at the top – the administration – could use a haircut.
“Having said that, I will now get hate mail from the university talking about how lean we are, and that’s bologna – we’re not,” he says. “We have too many administrators. We worry too much sometimes about administrators getting paid at the peer-level of their peer institutions, instead of our faculty.”