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Columbia Missourian

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: University of Missouri Press should remain a priority

By Robert Root
June 1, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — I'm dismayed by the shortsightedness of the decision to close the University of Missouri Press and by the values it exposes in the administration of the university.

Having read the excellent book by Ned Stuckey-French, "The American Essay in the American Century," in recent months, and being in the middle of Lisa Knopp's marvelous "What the River Carries," my respect and admiration for the University of Missouri Press has grown considerably in the past year.

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If the work being published were not so outstanding, it might possibly be less upsetting. But a university that doesn't value astute thinking and literary craft and surrenders the chance to promulgate them is simply contributing — eagerly, in this case, it would seem — to the continued decline of the culture.

If the university will not stand up for literature and scholarship, what can we assume it values in regard to literacy, intellectual development and learning? I urge reconsideration of this decision and realignment of the priorities being established for the university system.

Robert Root is professor emeritus of English at Central Michigan University and honored visiting faculty in the Master of Fine Arts program in Creative Writing at Ashland University. He lives in Waukesha, Wis. Questions? Contact Opinion editor Elizabeth Conner.