Could Budget Cutbacks Be The Death Of The University Press?

Ann McClure's picture

For 54 years, the University of Missouri Press has showcased the state’s history, culture and authors to readers close to home and scholars far beyond its borders. The 2,000 books published range from obscure treatises on Ozark folklorists to popular biographies of baseball greats Stan Musial and Satchel Paige.

That legacy ends next month after new university system president Tim Wolfe’s decision to shut down the money-losing press and steer its $400,000 annual subsidy toward other pressing campus needs such as building renovations or faculty raises.

The move, which has prompted a storm of criticism by faculty authors and renowned scholars, is among the painful choices being made on campuses across the nation this year as institutions cut costs to cope with budget pressures lingering from the recession.

With many legislatures reducing their financial support while also warning against tuition increases, colleges have been scouring their catalogues for programs they can do without, in some cases dropping second-tier sports or consolidating departments.

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