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Statement from University Leaders to Set the Record Straight: Response to the New York Times Story

July 11th, 2017

Story Contact: Christian Basi, 573-882-4430,

COLUMBIA, Mo. – On Monday, July 10, The New York Times attempted to summarize the challenges and opportunities facing the University of Missouri in the wake of protests and subsequent institutional changes during the past two years. While the university facilitated interviews with several leaders and provided detailed background information to the reporter, key aspects of our story were omitted.  We are writing to set the record straight.

During the events of fall of 2015 classes were held. Staff and faculty members went to work. The education, research and business of the university continued.

We are learning from our past while serving as a model for a new engaged university to the nation. That’s not the story you read on Monday, but it’s one you will hear often from the Missouri family. Their tremendous pride in the University of Missouri motivates and sustains us to take on the difficult challenges head-on and to become a stronger and more resilient university. Consider these accomplishments:

Safe Campus Ranking: One recent recognition of our progress is the University of Missouri being ranked No. 6 on a list of 50 U.S. colleges and universities with the best safety resources in a new report released by The safety of our students is a primary concern.

Best Buy: Just today, the University of Missouri was recognized as a “Best Buy” university in the 2018 Fiske Guide to Colleges. We were one of only 20 public universities included in the guide.  In 2016, University of Missouri provided more than $476M in financial aid.

Good Stewards: Recent high ratings from Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s keep Mizzou among an elite group of institutions.

Economic Development: The University of Missouri serves as an engine for economic and workforce development. It is estimated that Mizzou contributes more than $3.5B in economic benefit through its research, education and outreach programs. The University of Missouri is one of the largest land grant universities with an operating budget of $2.2B, 32,000 students, 13,000 faculty and staff and 304,000 living alumni.

Membership in AAU: The University of Missouri is a member of AAU, an organization of the 62 leading research universities in the U.S. and Canada. The university is committed to its mission as a premier land-grant institution to create and disseminate knowledge to advance the health, cultural, and social interests of the people of Missouri, the nation and the world.

There are so many positive developments that make the University of Missouri a wonderful place of learning that promotes student success, an innovative institution that creates breakthrough research and an engaged partner with the communities that we serve.

  • The Missouri School of Journalism is known throughout the world for its hands-on training in professional news outlets and agencies. This includes the only university-owned commercial network TV station in the U.S. that uses its newsroom as a working lab for students.
  • Our students are service oriented. They organize Mizzou Alternative Break, one of the largest programs in the country to address homelessness, poverty, disaster relief and K-12 outreach. More than 2,400 students get involved in these projects each spring.
  • Tremendous success of our students in receiving national and international recognition through the Truman scholarships, Tillman scholarships, Fulbright Fellowships and National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowships.
  • Our faculty are developing new drugs for the treatment of cancer at the MU Research Reactor, the largest academic nuclear research facility in the country.
  • The Thompson Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders provides diagnostics, evidence-based clinical care, research and compassionate support.
  • In 2016, Mizzou received more than $170M in philanthropic contributions, the highest in our history, catapulting our campaign towards the $1.3B goal.
  • Faculty are committed to the principles of free expression.
  • More than 374 full-time faculty across 13 schools and colleges were hired during the past two years, and there are plans to hire more than 160 this year.
  • We are inclusive. The Social Justice Centers (Multicultural Center, Gaines/Oldham Black Culture Center, Relationship & Sexual Violence Prevention Center, the LGBTQ Resource Center and the Women’s Center) and the Veterans Center serve as long-standing supportive pillars to our diverse student population.

Nathan Willett, president of the Missouri Students Association, provided his perspective on the story: “Guest Commentary: What The New York Times got wrong about MU and its 2015 protests.”

We invite you to come and visit the University of Missouri in Columbia to see, hear and experience for yourself the wonderful institution that we represent.

We are grateful to our supporters who believe in Missouri’s core values of Respect, Responsibility, Discovery and Excellence!

Mun Y. Choi
University of Missouri System

Garnett Stokes
Interim Chancellor
University of Missouri

Alexander Cartwright
University of Missouri