ROLLA — After heated debate and numerous efforts to find alternatives, the University of Missouri System Board of Curators approved a 3.8 percent tuition increase by a vote of 6-4 at its meeting Friday.
Among those in opposition to the increase, which will take effect in the fall, was board president Don Walsworth of Marceline.
“I don’t think we can just keep hammering the parents and students of this state,” Walsworth said Thursday.
However, curators voiced concerns about maintaining quality of education in the face of cuts in state appropriations.
“We have to keep this institution healthy and viable, and the biggest part of that is keeping our faculty in place and compensated fairly,” said curator Bo Fraser of Columbia.
The same six curators who voted to pass the motion also defeated an amendment that would have lowered the increase to 3.2 percent.
Along with the increase, curators discussed possible avenues to increase efficiency within the university, including an internal audit that would determine which programs and classes are being best utilized.
Curators also voted unanimously on Friday to change the name of the University of Missouri-Rolla to Missouri University of Science and Technology.
UMR Chancellor John Carney said the new name would better reflect the university’s status as a university with a technological emphasis.
However, he said, the new name is not intended to play down the university’s non-engineering programs.
“We have no intention of marginalizing the arts and sciences department,” he said.
Carney said the change, which will take effect on Jan. 1, 2008, will allow the Rolla campus to more effectively attract students who are interested in engineering.
Throughout the discussion of the change and the vote, Mark Wagner, 20, a UMR student, stood in the back of the room holding two broken-down cardboard boxes with blue spray-painted letters reading, “NO NEW NAME” and “MST MUST GO!”
Wagner, a native of Long Island, N.Y., said he had only heard of UMR because of a family association with the school. Changing the name will do nothing to raise awareness about the university outside of Missouri, he said.
Carney, in his address to the curators, reflected a similar sentiment.
“We need to do a better job of marketing and branding this university, and we intend to do that,” he said.
The university was established in 1870 under the moniker Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy. It took on its current name in 1968.