The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

April 23, 2013

Senator looks to throttle posed repeal of MSSU international mission from law

JOPLIN, Mo. — State Sen. Ron Richard is working to remove part of a bill that would repeal the statutory designation of the international component of Missouri Southern State University’s mission.

The bill, including an amendment seeking the MSSU action, was approved last week by the Senate. It has since been introduced in the House of Representatives and referred to its Higher Education Committee.

Richard, R-Joplin, said he has asked House members to delete the amendment from the bill, and he said he is certain that they will. He said his motivation in seeking to remove the amendment is to give MSSU officials time to research potential financial outcomes that could result if the mission is taken out of state statutes.

“We want to make sure there’s no unintended consequences,” he said.

It’s a sudden reversal in the fate of the statutory designation of the university’s international mission, which was proposed for repeal just two weeks ago. That caught many at the MSSU campus by surprise.

The repeal was supported by MSSU President Bruce Speck, who said the mission belonged on file with the Coordinating Board for Higher Education, not in state law. But several faculty members, students and alumni have spoken out against removing the designation from the law, worried that such a move could lead to the further dismantling of the international mission. At least two faculty members also said at last week’s Board of Governors meeting that they were unhappy that there had been no previous conversations on campus about the possibility of modifying the statute.

Sherry Buchanan, chairwoman of the Board of Governors, said Tuesday that any immediate focus on the issue will involve on-campus discussions about the advantages and disadvantages of taking the mission designation out of the statute.

“I think this is a good starting point in trying to determine what is in the best interest of the institution,” she said.

When asked whether MSSU will pursue a change to the statute in the future, Buchanan said: “I think that’s what the discussions need to center around.”

Speck said any future legislative direction on the statute would come from him. He said that if MSSU leaders decide to pursue the statute modification during next year’s legislative session, the university will likely wait to hold public discussions on the matter until the fall, when faculty and students reconvene for the semester.

Despite saying last week that he would not ask legislators to slow the bill’s movement through the legislative steps, Speck on Tuesday said he understood that call.

“We certainly agree with the fact that if we stop it now, we have more time on campus to discuss it,” he said. “I think there have been enough concerns about it that we need to take a step back and look at it, and I’m fine with it.”

He again said that any change to the state statute would not affect the international component of MSSU’s mission, which is listed in its strategic plan.

He also said, as he has previously stated, that a change in the state statute would not affect funding from the state.

“There are no financial concerns that I’m aware of,” he said.

Chad Stebbins, director of the Institute of International Studies, said he hopes the faculty senate, student senate and perhaps the entire community will participate in conversations about the mission designation before the board makes further decisions.

“I think the additional time to study all the ramifications would be very beneficial,” he said. “We’d like to address the possible consequences of it coming out of the state statute. But I think mainly just the opportunity for everyone to be heard, for all voices to be heard on the matter, would be in everyone’s best interest.”

Linda Hand, president of the faculty senate, did not return a message seeking comment Tuesday afternoon.

Support for the international mission was cited over the past week, with alumni, faculty members and students taking to online platforms to make their voices heard.

Ivy Love, a 2010 MSSU graduate with degrees in Spanish and French, helped launch a Facebook group on Saturday that called for alumni support of the mission. By Monday morning, the group had more than 700 members.

“The weight that comes with a state statute including our international mission is worth protecting, and I hope it’s now clear to administrators and legislators that a great many members of the Southern community strongly believe that and are willing to fight for it,” Love said in a statement emailed to the Globe.

Support also came from an online petition that was started on by Kayla Curran, a 2012 MSSU graduate with degrees in English and theater. The petition, which urges administrators to keep the international mission, had more than 325 signatures by Monday.


MSSU PRESIDENT BRUCE SPECK acknowledged that he “didn’t provide enough clarity” to the campus about the proposal to change the statute.

Text Only
Local News
  • 072814_jd anderson.jpg VIDEO: Noel strongman advances on talent show

    The past week has been busier than normal for Noel resident J.D. Anderson. Members of the production crew for NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” told him they have shot more footage of him than of other contestants for the next episode. “They said I have the busiest schedule of anyone this week,” Anderson told the Globe in a phone interview Friday. “There’s so many fun things you can do with B-roll as a strongman.”

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • AndraBryanStefanoni.jpg Andra Bryan Stefanoni: ‘Annie’ production is a family thing

    There’s a twist to this week’s production of “Annie” at Memorial Auditorium. The show, a beloved classic tale of an orphan girl in search of a family, is full of real-life family members.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072514 Band Box.jpg Jo Ellis: Carthage icon continues to play in local restaurant

    Chicago Coin’s Band-Box, also known as “Strike Up the Band,” has been a Carthage icon since the mid- to late 1950s. Any customer who frequented Red’s Diner, or Ray’s Cafe, and now the Pancake Hut is familiar with the pulsating rhythms and movements of this mechanical device.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • SusanRedden.jpg Susan Redden: Gubernatorial hopefuls make area appearances

    Three potential candidates for Missouri governor in 2016 made stops in the Joplin area this past week.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Anti-landfill group seeks grand jury probe

    As more than 200 people filed into Riverton High School on Sunday to attend an anti-landfill group meeting, many stopped to sign a petition asking the Cherokee County District Court to summon a grand jury to investigate how land was acquired by the city of Galena for a proposed landfill.

    July 27, 2014

  • shoalcreekcleanup.jpg Wildcat Glades center puts on service day at Shoal Creek

    About 20 people on Saturday pulled trash out of Shoal Creek as they paddled in canoes and kayaks from Grand Falls to Zan’s Creekside Campground in Joplin.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hearts & Hammers plans annual home repair event

    Since 2003, volunteers with Hearts & Hammers of Southwest Missouri have made free improvements to more than 170 homes owned by the elderly, physically disabled, and single parent or low-income families.

    July 26, 2014

  • Money clouds farm fight

    For much of the summer, while the campaign surrounding “right to farm” has been focused on its impact on “small, family farmers,” the bulk of the money pouring into the fight has come from big agriculture interests.

    July 26, 2014

  • jameswelbornupdate.jpg Local teen completes half of solo river trip

    James Welborn, a recent Webb City High School graduate, has reached the halfway point of his solo canoe trip down the Mississippi River — just in time to celebrate his 19th birthday with family.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Neosho police warn residents of phone scam

    The Neosho Police Department has received complaints from residents saying someone impersonating a lieutenant from the Newton County Sheriff’s Office warrants division has been calling them.

    July 26, 2014

Must Read


A new provision by the U.S. Department of Agriculture allows qualifying districts with high percentages of students on food assistance to allow all students to eat free breakfasts and lunches. Would you agree with this provision?

     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter