Letter to the Editor

Name change jeopardizes MU

Saturday, March 12, 2005

To the editor:

The Missouri Legislature's vote to allow Southwest Missouri State University to be renamed Missouri State University has the possibility of producing lasting detriment.

In an institution, the budget is a statement of values. Continuous cuts to higher education in Missouri make it hard for state universities to maintain high academic standards. In recent years, most states have increased funding to higher education, but Missouri has continued to cut higher-education funding.

Although the name change doesn't include land-grant status for Southwest or increased federal funding, it does diminish the prestige of the University of Missouri, which is the premier research university in Missouri and among the nation's top public universities. The name change could mean a decrease in state funding for the University of Missouri and an increase for Southwest. With state funding already spread thin, the name change jeopardizes the University of Missouri's ability to remain a top academic center.

Southwest will now be one of only a few state-named universities without a law or medical school. The name change diminishes the value of a degree from an established state university like the University of Missouri while adding status to a degree from the new Missouri State University.

When state education suffers, the economy will suffer. Having a mediocre university will create a mediocre state that will make it difficult for Missouri to attract new businesses and economic growth.

JUSTIN GIBBS, Jackson