Radical Activism Hurting University of Missouri? Enrollment Down 2,000 Since 2015 Protests

(Photo: REUTERS)Members of Concerned Student 1950 join hands at a press conference at Traditions Plaza at Carnahan Quad, on the University of Missouri campus in Columbia, Missouri, November 9, 2015.

The University of Missouri has experienced a severe drop in enrollment over the past two years, with some attributing it to the school's 2015 radical protests.

In the fall of 2015, large numbers of students protested what they believed was a pervasive campus climate of bigotry. Their demonstrations led to the resignations of the university's president and its chancellor.

Since then, enrollment has declined by approximately 2,000 students and the university has had to lay off approximately 100 staff and close down seven dormitories, according to a Wall Street Journal column, titled "Mizzou Pays a Price for Appeasing the Left."

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(Photo: Facebook/Mizzou)The Memorial Union building at the University of Missouri, as seen in November 2014.

"As classes begin this week, freshmen enrollment is down 35 percent since the protests, according to the latest numbers the university has publicly released. Mizzou is beginning the year with the smallest incoming class since 1999," read the column.

"Mizzou's 2016 football season drew almost 13,000 fewer attendees per game than in 2015, local media reported. During basketball games, one-third of the seats in the Mizzou Arena sat empty."

The WSJ piece echoed the reporting of The New York Times, which published a news story last month noting that the university is "shunned by students and families put off by, depending on their viewpoint, a culture of racism or one where protesters run amok."

"Students of all races have shunned Missouri, but the drop in freshman enrollment last fall was strikingly higher among blacks, at 42 percent, than among whites, at 21 percent," reported the NY Times in July.

"Black students were already a small minority. They made up 10 percent of the freshman class in 2012, a proportion that fell to just 6 percent last fall."

In September 2015, student protests began at the University of Missouri over allegations that the campus was a hotbed of racism and white privilege.

In October that year, Missouri Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin ordered diversity training for students and faculty, but the protests continued as some believed that the school was not doing enough.

The student protesters demanded that Loftin and Missouri President Tim Wolfe resign, as well as the implementation of diversity-centered hiring, among other demands.

That November, Loftin and Wolfe both resigned after the university's football team refused to play until the protesters' demands were met.

For its part, the university recently announced on Monday that the school was experiencing its second highest retention rate among students in the school's history. Among students who enrolled last academic year (2016-2017), 86.6 percent are returning to the university.

"We're excited about what our preliminary numbers are showing," said Pelema Morrice, vice provost for enrollment management, in a statement published Monday.

"These are stronger numbers than what was indicated earlier this year. Additionally, our strong retention number, which is one of the highest among all of Missouri's universities, shows us that students have successful academic experiences on campus. This class is very reflective of the state of Missouri."

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