Perhaps you have been following this, but for those who have not the president of the University of Missouri, Timothy M. Wolfe, announced on May 24, 2012, that he was closing the University of Missouri Press. This is a venerable institution that has been a regional academic publishing powerhouse for more than half a century.
I have worked with the press for many years as an author of two books published there and as editor of the “Sports and American Culture” series. As I said in a letter to President Wolfe that I wrote on August 13th resigning from this series editorship and asking for the return of rights to my books published by the press: “It has always been an effectively-run, professional organization with a major reputation and I was honored to be associated with it. Such is no longer the case. I had hoped that you would reconsider this decision, but it has become clear that your actions were based on ideology and that your vision for digital publication carried out by students is not a sound model for the press’s future.”
Within days of President Wolfe’s announcement to close the press Bruce Miller, Ned Stuckey-French, and others had organized a protest against the decision. Their facebook page, “Save the University of Missouri Press,” has been information central on what has been happening. Moreover, Janese Silvey of the Columbia Daily Tribune has been very effectively covering the unfolding drama. Check out her stories on the subject here.
There is a petition on-line to save the press and I would urge you to add your name to the more than 5,000 people who have already weighed in to support the continuation of the University of Missouri Press. You may access the petition here.
As I commented in my resignation letter, I was struck by one of the comments made by the officials founding the University of Missouri Press: “If one accepts the position that the function of the University is the extension of the boundaries of knowledge, there is no question of the appropriateness and essentiality of a university press.” I agree. I’m sorry that President Wolfe does not seem to value the “extension of the boundaries of knowledge” in this way.