The University of Missouri’s public relations problems in the wake of the university’s revamping the 54-year-old University of Missouri Press and laying off its director, Clair Willcox, continue to mount.Several authors have contacted the press this summer, inquiring as to how they can have the rights to their books returned to them. Most recently, Roger D. Launius, the editor of the press’s Sports and American Culture series, has sent a letter of resignation to Mizzou president Timothy Wolfe. Launius cited the changes made at the press as the cause precipitating his decision.
The University of Missouri Press “has always been an effectively-run, professional organization,” Launius wrote in the letter, which has been posted on the Facebook page, Save the University of Missouri Press, and has 2,683 “likes” to date. “Such is no longer the case.”
Launius, curator for the Planetary Exploration Programs at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., is the author of 18 books on American history, the history of the space program, and sports, two of them published by the University of Missouri Press. He also demanded in his letter to Wolfe that the the rights to these two releases revert back to him.