The university’s financial and enrollment woes continued, students protested for a number of social issues, a Tiger won an Olympic medal and students contracted a childhood illness. Here are the top five words that describe this school year.
Mizzou’s budget took center stage this academic year, with cuts affecting programs across the university. In the fall, Ellis Library’s hours were reduced due to a lack of funding in the budget. The library was no longer open for 24 hours and reduced its staff by 18. Gov. Eric Greitens cut MU’s budget for this semester by $20 million at the beginning of 2017, and the university is now determining how to make changes across each school and college. The School of Medicine is facing the largest cut at $3.1 million.
This year, the Columbia community organized marches to make their voices heard on many national issues. The day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, women took to the streets of Columbia and around the world to participate in the Women’s March. Students traveled to St. Louis and Washington, D.C. to participate in the protests, which had been planned for months. On Jan. 29, students and Columbia residents met at Peace Park to show their support for the Muslim community in the wake of Trump’s travel ban. They brought yellow flowers to the local mosque as a sign of friendship. And on April 22, community members gathered at the Columbia Courthouse plaza for the March for Science, protesting funding cuts to science programs across the nation.
Wrestler J’den Cox won a bronze medal in the summer Olympics and went on to win his third national championship, the only MU wrestler to do so. In March, cross-country runner Karissa Schweizer won her second national championship, this time in indoor track and field, and became the first female multi-sport national champion in Mizzou history. The volleyball team won the Southeastern Conference tournament while both they and the women’s basketball team made national tournament appearances. Volleyball made it to the Sweet 16, where the team lost to No. 2 Minnesota. Women’s basketball lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament, but it had NCAA tournament wins in consecutive seasons for the first time in school history.
Mizzou saw a large drop in enrollment this year, with a 21.1 percent decrease in incoming freshmen from fall 2015 to fall 2016. The School of Journalism saw the largest drop, with a 30.79 percent decrease in freshmen. This decline in enrollment contributed to a $36.3 million drop in tuition revenue. In early April, it was announced that Center, Responsibility and Discovery halls would be taken offline next year due to low enrollment in addition to McDavid, Schurz, Respect and Excellence.
Word of the mumps outbreak on campus spread almost as quickly as the disease itself in the fall. Approximately 130 students were diagnosed with the disease over the course of the semester, even though all of them had their measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. MU recommended that all students receive a third MMR booster shot in order to protect themselves against the disease. And despite many students relying on the mumps outbreak to cancel exams, finals week went on as scheduled.