ST. LOUIS (AP) – The interim president of the University of Missouri system says the school could be a national example in how it responds to racial unrest that rocked the Columbia campus last fall.

Michael Middleton told the National Press Club Tuesday that he expects to keep the job until at least the end of the year while a search for a permanent president continues.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports Middleton defended the firing of assistant professor Melissa Click. And he said he expects a $30 million drop in tuition because of a steep decline in freshmen enrollment in the fall.

Middleton said he understood why some parents would hesitate to send their children to Columbia after last fall’s disruptions but he says the campus is safe.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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