Mayor Works Compromise on River Campus

Mayor Works Compromise on River Campus
By:  Mike Shain

Cape Girardeau, MO -- Cape Girardeau Mayor Jay Knudtson says the Southeast Missouri State University River Campus controversy is over.

He made the announcement Friday afternoon at a news conference on the construction site.  Knudtson says he went to Jefferson City earlier in the week for a meeting with Representative Rod Jetton (R-Marble Hill). Jetton is Speaker of the House.  

Knudtson says the meeting produced a settlement of the issues between Jetton and the university over financing the new campus for art, music, theatre and dance.  Jetton had objected to the financing arrangement.  Southeast sold 36-million dollars in bonds to pay for construction.  That amount anticipated receiving 17 million from the state. 

Jetton accused the University of writing what amounted to a “hot Check” because it did not request the legislature’s approval.  Jetton said that might tempt other schools and institutions to do the same thing.

Southeast President Kenneth Dobbins admitted the action may have been out of line, putting Jetton and other leaders in an “awkward”  position.  Dobbins apologized to Jetton. 

The speaker said that he was satisfied his demands had been met.  “The River Campus will be built.” Jetton said, “It will be finished.”    The availability of the state’s 17-million dollars depends on an allocation as part of Governor Matt Blunt’s plan to sell part of the MOHELA assets.  MOHELA is the agency that loans money to Missouri college students.

Without than funding, the 36-milion dollar cost of the River Campus will be paid for with higher student fees.