New data shows freshman enrollment at the behemoth University of Missouri is just 4,009—down 35 percent since to Fall 2015.
This is the second year in a row that Mizzou has seen its freshman class decline, a drop directly linked to the raucous Fall 2015 protests, which contributed to the resignation of both the university’s president and its chancellor.
The raucous protests — which were sparked by various incident of alleged racism, racist graffiti and “hate crimes” on campus — were enormously damaging to the university’s reputation, scaring away prospective students in droves.
The protests also came at an inopportune time, when high school graduation numbers were already down in Missouri, and when Mizzou’s competitor, the University of Illinois, had ramped up admissions and recruitment efforts.
In response to the declining enrollment and a shrinking student body, Mizzou has taken a total of seven residence halls “offline” in the past two years.
And earlier this week, a Mizzou doughnut store came under fire after the proprietor suggested that the protests and the resulting drop in enrollment had driven his shop out of business.
As Heat Street exclusively reported last year, scores of parents and prospective students wrote in to express their disapproval with administrators’ handling of the demonstrations.
Alumni, donors and sports fans vowed to withdraw support, even as the university faced a multi-million dollar budget shortfall. And by May 2016, athletics department donations were down by 72 percent.
As of Fall 2016, freshman enrollment had plummeted by about 25 percent—a drop one Fox Sports writer compared to “Tulane University the year after Hurricane Katrina.”
— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.