Government Relations

UM Legislative Update Newsletter

January 21, 2005

Senate Education Committee considers name change bills

The Senate Education Committee, chaired by Sen. Gary Nodler (R-Joplin), conducted its first hearing Tuesday, Jan. 18 and considered five bills that involve name changes for several institutions.

The bills included SB19, sponsored by Sen. Charlie Shields (R-St. Joseph), that renames Missouri Western State College to Missouri Southern State University and removes "Joplin" from the name of Missouri Southern State University-Joplin; SB36 sponsored by Nodler, which increases the number of voting members of the governing board of Missouri Southern State University-Joplin; SB97, sponsored by Sen. Maida Coleman (D-St. Louis) that changes the name of Harris-Stowe State College to Harris-Stowe State University; SB25, sponsored by Sen. Norma Champion (R-Springfield), that renames Southwest Missouri State University to "Missouri State University;" and SB98 sponsored by Champion, which combines all of the name changes above into one bill.

Most of the hearing centered around the Springfield school name, with representatives from the SMSU Board of Regents, Springfield Chamber of Commerce and an SMSU student testifying in favor of the change. Their arguments centered around the changes that have occurred in recent years at SMSU and that the new name better reflects the institution they have become.

Those testifying against the legislation included former UM Board of Curators members Jim Sterling and John Lichtenegger; a student representing the Associated Students of the University of Missouri; and a student representing the Legislative Information Network of the MU Alumni Association. Opponents questioned the need to add another layer of institutions to the higher education structure which many argue is underfunded, and noted that Missouri State University for many years was the name used by the University in Columbia. No vote was taken on the measure, but it is expected to be considered next Tuesday when the committee meets again.

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