Sep 28, 2012 11:03 PM by Robin O'Day - KPAX News
MISSOULA - There's no doubt it was a nightmare of a year for the University of Montana, with a string of sexual assault allegations. The question is whether that hurt enrollment at the University this fall?
The numbers released on Friday, show yes, it did. Enrollment is down by 726 students this fall semester, compared to last fall and it looks like a year of bad publicity is starting to take its toll on the UM. This comes after the University had a record number of graduates this last academic year.
"Every university unfortunately deals with bad news at some point, but what we look at then is, how do you handle that," says Interim Vice President for Integrated Communications, Peggy Kuhr.
One out-of-state freshman says if he had known about the alleged sexual assaults, he may have chosen a different University.
"It's very important that people are able to feel safe when they go to school, I know it sounds super cliché, but if I didn't think I was safe here, I wouldn't be going here," says Maxwell Nelson.
Exact numbers aren't available yet, about how many freshmen are enrolled or how many students came back this school year, but we do know there are 390 fewer students from the main UM campus and 336 fewer students from the Missoula College this fall compared to last fall.