TRCC & SEMO Square Off Over Legal Battle

March 29, 2005 – Posted at 5:30 p.m. CST

POPLAR BLUFF, MO -- Three Rivers Community College and Southeast Missouri State University have been at odds since the University ended a program which allowed students to take lower level university courses at the Community College.

"On February 25th, 2005, we received a fax and then a phone call from the president of SEMO saying that we're severing ties--you're out," said Vice President of Student Affairs Randall E. Lee.

And that action has prompted TRCC to file a lawsuit against SEMO. The Community College alleges that the University has broken the agreement that TRCC be allowed to teach freshman and sophomore level courses at center in Kennett, Malden and Sikeston.

"Since 1999, we looked at all the courses taught by TRCC at those three sites and we took the difference between Southeast and Three Rivers cost and we just added that up and it comes up to almost $4.7 million dollars that we've saved," said Lee.

Officials at TRCC can't comment on the pending lawsuit they say it's their goal to make sure the students aren't the ones caught in the middle. But students here on campus say they're already unhappy with SEMO.

"I think it's really terrible that they're putting money over their students," said student Laura Hawkins, "That tells me what kind of school it is."

"They've got a reputation for charging way too much and their tuition prices is just insane," said Criminal Justice major Steven Hillis.

Officials at TRCC say the outlook is good.

"TRCC is going to be there for you," said Lee, "We're continuing to work through these issues. We are meeting on a daily basis. We're looking at different options we have. Already in an amazing short time we've offered the courses we've offered in the past."

TRCC has already started enrolling students for their summer semester. For more information about scheduling at the bootheel campuses, call 1-877-TRY-TRCC, extension 669.