LETTER: Proposed alternative to university press fails Missourians

Monday, June 11, 2012 | 2:51 p.m. CDT; updated 10:33 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Chronicle of Higher Education and other national publications are now writing about the opposition to this move. And, as Ned Stuckey-French points out, this job-killing move to close the press damages the academic reputation of the university.

While it is indisputable that, as Tom Quirk says, "times are tough," the closure of the press is really not about that. It is a question of how the available money (and the university budget is considerable, just look at the publicly available listing of administrative salaries) is allocated.

As someone who has helped market university press books for over 30 years, I can tell you with authority that if the press is destroyed, nearly all of the books now in the warehouse will be pulped, and many of the manuscripts that would have been published will be thrown into the garbage, never to see the light of day.

That means the cultural heritage of Missouri, its writers, its history and its citizens are also being trashed, and everyone in the state, regardless of education or income level, ought to be concerned.

The proposal that the administration is about to release — some intern-run digital enterprise possibly created in conjunction with the Missouri Review — will not be the University of Missouri Press since all the employees will be fired.

This half-baked, still-to-be-worked-out, last-minute fudge by an administration under fire should not be confused with the professional, world-renowned, 54-year-old not-for-profit publishing company known as the University of Missouri Press.

Bruce Joshua Miller lives in Chicago. Questions? Contact news editor Laura Johnston.

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