Following a drop in students applying for housing, the University of Missouri will not be placing students in two dorms for the fall 2016 semester.
Mizzou will be closing the Respect and Excellence halls (ironic names, given the circumstances) in order to utilize dorm space "in the most efficient manner" to keep costs down.
In March, the university announced that it saw a sharp drop in admissions for the coming school year, and will have 1,500 fewer students. This will lead to a $32 million budget shortfall for the school, prompting the need to close the dorms in order to save money.
"Dear university community," wrote interim chancellor Hank Foley in an email to the school back in March. "I am writing to you today to confirm that we project a very significant budget shortfall due to an unexpected sharp decline in first-year enrollments and student retention this coming fall. I wish I had better news."
The school announced a 5 percent cut "to all annual recurring general revenue budgets" and an "across-the-board hiring freeze for all units on campus." The dorm closures are only the latest cost-cutting measures.
The school announced the closures on its Residents' Online Access to Rooms website. The two closed dorms contained Freshmen Interest Groups, special communities for first-year students housed within the dorms, which the university said could be available in other dorms.
"Due to an expected decrease in the number of students needing housing at Mizzou this year, Residential Life will not be offering space in Respect or Excellence Halls at this time," the university announced. "This is an effort to ensure we are using our halls in the most efficient manner, keeping our costs as low as possible so we can provide our students with the best possible living environments at an affordable cost."
Mizzou was ground zero for the campus protests that began last fall. Students protested perceived incidents of racism and demanded the university administration sufficiently acknowledge their feelings.
The students wanted the administration to take some kind of action toward curbing racism, even though nearly all the "evidence" showing it was some kind of problem was based on anecdotes from students who never filed reports and appeared more interested in cultivating victim status than actually making realistic changes.
One point of contention that accurately summed up the mentality of the protesters was the demand that the university president resign because he hadn't done enough for students after the shooting death of Michael Brown, which had occurred two hours away (and a year earlier) in Ferguson, Mo.
Students were doubly upset the president didn't immediately jump to condemn their unsubstantiated claims of racism or make official pronouncements regarding Brown's death. (State and local investigations exonerated the officer involved, whom Brown had attacked. Obama's Department of Justice accepted their conclusion about the case in declining to pursue the case as a civil rights violation.)
Ultimately, Mizzou's president resigned, and the protests largely ended, showing the protesters weren't actually interested in change but in claiming scalps.
During the protests, a Mizzou professor named Melissa Click pushed and threatened a student journalist. Click was eventually charged with assault and fired. The protester's behavior became an embarrassment for the school, which soon after saw the drop in admissions that would lead to the dorm closures and budget shortfall.
Mizzou should serve as a warning to other protesters: Your whining over trivial matters (actual racism is bad; microaggressions and safe spaces make you look like babies) damage your school's reputation and keep it from doing its job of educating you and preparing you for the real world.
Or perhaps protesters don't really care about such things.
Ashe Schow is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.