Bruce Joshua Miller, a commission publisher’s rep in Chicago and Ned Stuckey-French, an English literature professor at Florida State University, are leading the charge in drumming up public opposition to the University of Missouri’s announcement Thursday that it will no longer subsidize the University of Missouri Press with a $400,000 annual allocation. The two have already written letters to major Missouri newspapers denouncing the university’s decision to shut down the press, and are also sending e-mails to their professional contacts, requesting that they too write letters to the university of Missouri’s president, Tim Wolfe. Miller launched over the weekend a Facebook page, “Save the University of Missouri Press,” which, as of this writing has more than 200 “likes;” the two are strategizing on further actions.
Miller, a principal in Miller Trade Book Marketing, reps for the University of Missouri Press, and Stuckey-French’s book, The American Essay in the American Century, was published by the University of Missouri Press in 2011.
“It’s not financial; I don’t make a lot of money from them,” Miller explained, “This decision flies in the face of everything that I value. It’s a slap in the face to anyone who values history or literature or books.”
Miller complained that the university’s decision “sets a terrible precedent,” and is not just an “attack” on a press that “really serves the people of the state of Missouri as well as the broader public,” but is an “extraordinary attack” on university presses. Miller expressed surprise that, according to sources inside the press, the university recently provided the press with extra funds to completely revamp their website and to update their database system, but is now shutting them down.
The “Save the University of Missouri Press" Facebook page includes a letter to Wolfe written by Thomas Strong, a university alumnus and a prominent trial attorney whose memoir, Strong Advocate: Life of a Trial Lawyer, is scheduled for release by the press in October. In the strongly-worded letter, Strong demands that a plaque bearing his name in a room of the law school be removed, and informs Wolfe that he will no longer make financial gifts to the university.
“How can Truman State, a small school with a small budget, afford a press, while the University of Missouri, a large school with a large budget, cannot?” Strong wrote, “Where are your priorities?”
Update: As of 11:30 AM Eastern May 30, the "Save the University of Missouri Press" Facebook page has 675 'likes."