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U. of Missouri: $2M in Donations Lost After Unrest

COLUMBIA, Mo. ― About $2 million in donations to the University of Missouri have been lost in fallout from the unrest at the campus in Columbia, a top university official said Thursday.

Vice Chancellor for Advancement Tom Hiles said several donors who had pledged money to the university have pulled back their pledges, though the vast majority of lost money was from seven to 10 big donors.

Simmering tensions over what student activists saw as administrators’ indifference to racial problems at the Columbia campus came to a head in the November protests. Demonstrators were backed by some members of the football team, who threatened to refuse to play. University system President Tim Wolfe and Columbia campus chancellor R. Bowen Loftin both resigned at the height of the unrest.

The protests themselves angered some donors, including many who felt the university ceded too much power to students, Hiles said. Others who pulled their money cited the actions of Melissa Click, an assistant professor who called for “some muscle” to remove a student videographer from a public protest area. She has since been suspended, but some alumni and donors are angry she hasn’t been fired.

Still others were upset about other issues, including the university’s affiliation with Planned Parenthood.

Despite the lost donations, the current fiscal year that ends June 30 is on track to be the second-best ever for donations, Hiles said. He expects the university to reach its $1.3 billion fundraising goal in its “Our Time to Lead” campaign to fund scholarships for students, among other things.

“It’s a challenging environment, I’m not trying to gloss over it,” Hiles said. “We don’t like to lose any gifts, but most of our donors have stayed with us.”

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