MU is engaged in deep denial. The supposedly recalibrated Columbia campus press isn’t a University Press. It does not replace the University of Missouri Press, whose professional staff has been terminated.
The University of Missouri Press wasn’t broken. To the contrary, it gained stature over the years as a major university press. Having chaired the four-campus oversight committee, I can attest to the professionalism and significant reputation of the University of Missouri Press.
The proposed reorganization will be a pale, minor league imitation. Instead of including all four UM campuses, it will be only on the Columbia campus. Teaching rather than publishing is described as the major priority. Scholars seeking a major press will not submit their manuscripts. Present assets of authors and book stocks will rapidly disappear. Students may learn theories of how to evaluate and edit manuscripts. However, they will lack the practical experience of working in a real press.
It isn’t too late. University Hall should reconsider abandoning one of the hallmarks of a major university — a significant university press.
Paul Wallace is a professor emeritus of political science at MU. Questions? Contact Opinion editor Elizabeth Conner.