The University of Missouri has announced the closure of three additional undergrad residence halls due to the shortfall in student enrollment following the 2015 race protests. The closures bring the total number of closed residence halls to seven.
Speaking to ABC 17 News, Mizzou News Bureau associate director Liz McCune said that the Discovery, Responsibility and Center halls will close to “ensure that we are maximizing the space we have and being as efficient as possible with our resources.” Other shuttered residence halls include Respect, Excellence, Schurz, and McDavid.
McCune told the news station that the halls are closing to “make sure we have the flexibility necessary whether the numbers are low or high,” adding that if the enrollment numbers are low, Mizzou won’t have to operate the unfilled residences. If the numbers go up, they can simply reopen them to accommodate the demand.
The associate director said that despite the closures, the university plans to open a new 279-bed hall for the 2017-2018 school year.
In January 2017, the university saw its lowest enrollment figures since 2011 with only 31,010 students, according to ABC 17. The figures reached their peak in fall 2015 at 35,448 students—numbers that only declined following the race protests in November 2015, which persisted well into 2016.
As Heat Street previously reported, the University of Missouri’s enrollment has slowed over the past year. In 2016, graduate enrollment saw a 25% drop compared to the previous year. E-mail correspondence reviewed by Heat Street and National Review revealed a brutal backlash against the university by parents, students and faculty members.
Mizzou leaders have until April 28 to figure out how to make up for the university’s $20 million shortfall in the budget.