Senate leader Ron Richard (R-Joplin) has appointed four people to serve on an eight-member commission evaluating the University of Missouri. House Speaker Todd Richardson (R-Poplar Bluff) is expected to appoint next week the other four members.
Those chosen by Richard include:
- Renee Hulshof of Columbia, a conservative radio talk show host and wife of 2008 GOP gubernatorial candidate Kenny Hulshof.
- Dave Spence of St. Louis, CEO of Legacy Pharmaceutical Packaging. He was defeated by Governor Nixon in the 2012 gubernatorial election.
- Michael Williams of Kansas City, an attorney at Williams, Dirks, Dameron LLC law firm
- Neal Bredehoeft, of Alma, District Director of the Missouri Soybean Association and president of Bredehoeft Farms.
The commission is charged with recommending changes to the University’s rules and regulations, administrative and campus structures and degree and diversity programs. Those recommendations are to be given to the Legislature and University of Missouri officials by the end of the year.
Hulshof says the panel might need more time.
“I think one of the first things the commission is going to have to look at is if that’s enough time to do the sort of review and honest assessment. All of us are working professionals. This is not a paid position. We are all volunteers,” said Hulshof. “We all want to give this as much time and energy as it’s going to require. Is that an adequate amount time? I can’t answer that for the other seven people I’ll be serving with. My own person position is, I’m going to guess we’re going to need more time, but we’ll all assess that as a group and come to a decision.”
The Legislature voted in favor of creating the commission after many state lawmakers criticized how University leaders responded to last fall’s demonstrations at the Columbia campus.
Protesters called for then-President Tim Wolfe’s resignation for the way he handled incidents of racism on campus. Those demonstrations were also where former Mizzou communications professor Melissa Click was seen on camera calling for “some muscle” to keep a student journalist away from protesters.
During debate in the Senate about whether to create the commission, one concern raised was that the panel could be blamed in cases of future turmoil at the University.
“To use this commission as some sort of blame game is probably also going to happen,” said Hulshof. “I think it’s important for the members of the commission to keep our eye on the ball and understand what we’re charged with doing.”
Some say the Legislature voting in favor of creating the commission was partly responsible for lawmakers restoring some funding that had been reduced from the University’s state aid.