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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: University of Missouri Press is essential to publishing community

Friday, May 25, 2012 | 4:59 p.m. CDT; updated 1:41 p.m. CDT, Monday, August 20, 2012

My father grew up on a small farm in northwest Missouri. After serving in the Army Air Corps during World War II, he was able to use the GI Bill to complete his bachelor’s degree at MU, stay on to get a master’s degree and eventually become a professor of agricultural economics.

I wish he had been alive last year when the University of Missouri Press published my first book, "The American Essay in the American Century." He would have been proud.

Today, however, he would be outraged to hear his alma mater is shutting down its press. He published with university presses and knew how essential their work is to scholars, teachers and students. He also knew how important the Press’ many books on Missouri writers, culture, landscape, and heritage are to his home state.

My father was a lifelong Mizzou football fan, but I know he would question the priorities of a university system that shuts down its press to save (according to the University’s press release) a $400,000 annual subsidy while paying its head football coach $2.7 million each year.

The University says it plans to institute a “new business model” of “scholarly communication” in which “[m]uch editorial work would be done by students.” I direct a publishing and editing program at Florida State University and know how important publishing internships are to our students, but I believe a model based on unpaid student interns is an insult to the 10 professional staff members who were given their notice.

Ned Stuckey-French is book review editor of Fourth Genre and director of the program in publishing and editing, department of English, at Florida Sate University.


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Comments

Mike Martin May 25, 2012 | 5:41 p.m.

Oh uh oh oh oohh. Oh dear. Oh my...my my my! We do not say this kind of stuff here, Mr. French. I mean, Coach P...I mean, academics vs. ath...Oh my..I, we...We just don't quest...! Are you FRENCH or something?? You're obviously NOT from around here. This is TIGER TOWN, dear sir!

I mean, oh my! OH MY!

RE:

"My father was a lifelong Mizzou football fan, but I know he would question the priorities of a university system that shuts down its press to save (according to the University’s press release) a $400,000 annual subsidy while paying its head football coach $2.7 million each year."

(Report Comment)
Louis Schneebaum May 25, 2012 | 6:29 p.m.

It really is quite sad. Well put.

(Report Comment)
Ned Stuckey-French May 25, 2012 | 7:35 p.m.

I know you're joking, Mike, but just to be clear: my first job at the age of ten was selling hot dogs at Purdue football games, I played college football, I coached jr hi football, and I'm writing from Tallahassee. This isn't an either/or.

(Report Comment)
Cole Kennedy May 28, 2012 | 11:26 p.m.

I'm a big proponent of education, but if I hear one more person complain about the athletics budget, I'm going to go nuts. They're a self-sustaining department of the university - none of the money used to pay Pinkel or upgrade the stadiums comes from academic budgets. Jeez.

(Report Comment)
Louis Schneebaum May 29, 2012 | 1:51 a.m.

Even IF the athletics department is 'self-sustaining' as you put it, why can't some of the proceeds be redirected toward the press? Are the Missouri Tigers simply a semi-pro sports team who exist on University property with no other affiliation?

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith May 29, 2012 | 6:19 a.m.

Definition of an NCAA Division I university: The university's primary function is to serve as the life support system for its athletic programs. (I didn't think that up; the saying has been around now for decades.)

Before there's a spate of posts listing athletic and academic expenditures at MU, the above statement can just as easily be based upon people's ATTITUDES rather than on expended dollars.

(Report Comment)

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