The University of Missouri has announced plans to close two additional dormitories for the fall 2016 semester as a result of low enrollment.
The school posted a notice on its website stating that as a result of an expected drop in the number of students requiring housing at the school, space in the Respect and Excellence Residence Halls will no longer be available.
School officials said the decision came as part of an effort to ensure that the residence halls at the school were being used as effectively as possible to keep campus costs low and offer students “the best possible living environments at an affordable cost.” They add that for those students who had been interested in applying for housing in either of those residence halls, similar communities are available in other houses.
While the school did not state the reason behind the dorm closures, it did say that they will open the halls if demand increases, reports Steven Ganey for Fox4.
School spokesman Christian Basi did say that the closures were needed in order to cut costs at the school, adding that it was more cost-effective to close entire halls rather than to fill them partially.
The decline in enrollment followed directly after a number of race-related protests took place at the school. In total, four residence halls have now been closed at the University in response to the decline of students looking to enroll there. Prior to the current two closures, the school closed Laws and Lathrop halls.
Although the staff members that had been assigned to work in the previous two halls were told their jobs were protected, there is no guarantee for the current two halls, writes Blake Neff for The Daily Caller.
The school saw a drop in applications of close to 5% in January after being hit with protests by student group Concerned Student 1950 who argued that school administrators were not doing enough to control the racially hostile environment that was overtaking the school. As a result, MU President Tim Wolfe was forced out of office and R. Bowen Loftin, the chancellor of the flagship Columbia campus, also stepped down.
The school also received negative attention after communications professor Melissa Click attacked a student journalist who was covering the protests on campus. Click argued that the student did not have the right to film the public demonstrations. She was fired from the University in February.
The school faced additional issues in February, claiming racial strife had affected its credit rating. This was followed in March by the announcement that the school was expecting a budget shortfall of $32 million as a result of a decrease in undergraduate enrollment in the next year of close to 1,500 students, which includes a drop in the freshmen class of about 900 students.
The Respect and Excellence halls were opened in 2004 at the same time as the Discovery and Responsibility halls, all in the same complex as part of the Residential Life Master Plan. Respect houses 170 students, while Excellence is home to 145 students.