Black Enrollment Falls at Mizzou Following Anti-Racism Protests

By Sameer Rao Jul 10, 2017

In 2015, Black student activists at the University of Missouri (Mizzou) tackled campus racism head-on via a wave of actions against administrators’ inaction that eventually swept up some of the school’s football team and led to its president’s resignation. But as The New York Times reported yesterday (July 9), 20 months later, Mizzou’s reputation has been tarnished among prospective college students.

The Times reports that freshman enrollment at the Columbia, Missouri, campus has fallen by 35 percent in the nearly-two years since the clash. While the university could not yet provide racial demographics for this autumn’s incoming freshman class, it told the Times that Black freshmen enrollment decreased by 42 percent between 2015 and 2016. It dropped 21 percent among White students.

The Times adds that the declining tuition revenue prompted budget cuts that, combined with state funding cuts, forced the university to temporarily close seven dormitories and lay off more than 400 workers.

One Black student, Whitney Matewe, told The Times that she understands why the public backlash to racist incidents—including a White student interrupting several Black students’ rehearsal to shout racist epithets and swastikas drawn in feces on a bathroom wall—would have affected student enrollment. Matewe said that racism on the predominantly White campus pervades all aspects of life, and she mentions a time when “a friend’s boyfriend obliviously told her she looked like Aunt Jemima.” She added, “Being ‘the other’ in every classroom and every situation is exhausting.”

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