The state legislature has called for a commission to study the University of Missouri’s administrative structure.
Many state lawmakers want to see what changes might have allowed MU to respond more quickly to protests last fall against racism, and to issues like the discipline of Professor Melissa Click. The proposal was offered by Senator Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia), and some say it was partly responsible for the legislature restoring some funding that had been reduced from the University’s state aid, as many lawmakers were critical of the response to those protests and to Click’s behavior.
Click was seen on camera calling for “some muscle” to keep a student journalist away from protesters last fall, and verbally assaulting a police officer in a separate incident.
Representative Caleb Jones (R-Columbia) says MU’s current rules and regulations could be slowing down responses.
“This is the legislature partnering with the University of Missouri to say, ‘Hey, we all are aware that there are plenty of things that have gone wrong, there are plenty of things that need to be changed, and we are going to stand with them to help them with … a different perspective of how some of these things could be changed,” said Rowden.
Many Democrats voted against the proposal. Assistant Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty (D-Kansas City) said the University doesn’t need the legislature’s guidance.
“I believe the University has taken some steps. They’ve got a new president, a new chancellor, and we need to give the University the opportunity to make some changes before we, as a legislature, decide that we’re going to tell them how to move forward,” said McCann Beatty.
The House and Senate’s leaders will appoint the members of the commission.