UPDATE: Save the University Press Group Meets
COLUMBIA - Workers and friends of the University of Missouri Press are still fussing Tuesday about the decision to close.
The complaining took a slight turn Tuesday as the group protested the process and lack of discussion before UM closed the publisher.
Seventy people met to discuss ways to involve students in protesting the decision. Best selling author and Columbia resident William Least Heat-Moon called for students to join the protest. Least Heat-Moon is a former English professor and a Missouri graduate. As the school year begins, he hopes to gather petition signatures from students.
People also talked about how to handle the termination of the employees. Meeting organizer Donna Potts said that the employees were misinformed causing miscommunication about the shut-down.
The group is also trying to get the American Association of University Professors -- AAUP -- to help mediate and avoid mistakes like the miscommunication that happened with the press closure. AAUP focuses on making decisions in a group process, taking into account employee and faculty opinion.
The Save the University of Missouri Press group claim University President Tim Wolfe made a mistake closing. It said Wolfe wants to lead the way in digital publishing and make it a student run venture.
The organizer of the Save the University Press group, Ned Stuckey-French, is circulating an online petition to Tim Wolfe and the MU Board of Curators. That petition already has 5,000 signatures. The petition calls for students to get the opportunity to learn at the press, but under supervision of trained professionals. He also wants MU to keep printing books along with exploring other opportunities in new media. You can find a copy of the petition here.
UM President Wolfe did not return our telephone calls for a comment. However, in previous statements, Mizzou Campus Chancellor Brady Deaton said closing the University Press will allow MU to become an innovator in publishing and save the school money by hiring students.