The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 1, 2013

House panel pulls amendment pertaining to MSSU mission

By Eli Yokley

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — State lawmakers have scrapped a piece of legislation that would have repealed Missouri Southern State University’s international mission designation from state statute.

The legislation, an amendment to a broader education bill, was removed from the proposal Wednesday by the House Higher Education Committee.

The amendment had been added April 10 to the larger bill by Sen. David Pearce, R-Warrensburg, chairman of the Senate Education Committee. The amendment was supported by MSSU President Bruce Speck, who said the day-to-day operations of the international programs at the university would not be affected, but news of the proposed repeal apparently caught most of the campus by surprise.

The bill was approved by the Senate on April 16, and it moved to the House of Representatives. Later that week, two faculty members at MSSU publicly asked Speck and the Board of Governors to slow the measure’s movement through the Legislature, saying they were unhappy that the mission was poised to be eliminated from the statute and that administrators had not discussed the motion with the campus beforehand.

Last week, Sen. Ron Richard, R-Joplin, told the Globe that he would ask lawmakers in the House to delete the amendment from the bill. He said he wanted university officials to have time to research potential consequences of repealing the statutory language. Administrators, including Speck, said they could schedule campus discussions on the matter, likely in the fall.

The amendment was pulled on Wednesday, but Pearce said he would be willing to propose it again if administrators decided to move forward.

STAFF WRITER EMILY YOUNKER contributed to this report.

Broader bill

THE BROADER EDUCATION BILL includes several miscellaneous provisions, as well as expanding the A+ Program, Bright Flight and Access Missouri, all funding programs for students. The bill now is in the House Rules Committee, and would have to be approved by the House and Senate to become law.