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Cause and effect: Mizzou applications down significantly amid racially motivated protests

A series of racially divisive and abusive protests on campus played a role in the fact that potential University of Missouri enrollees are fewer and farther between ahead of the 2016 academic year.

That was the conclusion reached by the school’s admissions director, Chuck May, during a recent interview about the roughly 5 percent drop in fall semester applications. Graduate programs saw an even sharper decline, with about 19 percent fewer students expressing interest in attending Mizzou.

“While we don’t have any clear data,” he said, “we know that the events this past fall have had an impact.”

May might not be prepared to discuss specifics, but one alumni group founded in the midst of the recent campus demonstrations forecast months ago that the school would see such a dip in enrollment.

“We’re starting to hear from students and from parents who are concerned about the safety of their children,” Truth Matters MU founder Russ Jones said at the time. “Students are concerned that if they disagree with some of the claims, they’ll be pegged as racists.”

According to May, the downward trend this year was likely precipitated by factors other than the protests.

“We’ve anticipated a decline in numbers due to decreases in the number of high school graduates throughout the Midwest,” he said, “and increased competition, especially in the Chicago market.”

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