The University of Missouri System Review Commission has submitted its report to the Legislature.
The Commission says the UM System should conduct a review of its collected rules and regulations. Commission member Renee Hulshof, a Columbia radio talk show host, says Commission members Gary Forsee and Neal Bredehoeft worked on that recommendation.
“So there’s a lot of strife surrounding that issue, and they (Forsee and Bredehoeft) really felt that it was incumbent upon each of the four campuses to look at their collected rules, to look at how they handle their faculty, and really determine is what we’re doing best practice, yes or no?” says Hulshof.
Forsee served as UM System President from late 2007 to January 2011.
One of the Review Commission’s key recommendations involves a 2007 state law that placed tuition controls across all of Missouri’s four-year public institutions. Hulshof says that law led to a squeeze on all of the campuses, which caused the schools to charge fees that upset parents.
“The University has to make up those costs of delivering an education somehow and that’s how they’ve done it,” Hulshof says. “And they should be allowed, the Governing Boards of all institutions, whether it’s MU or any other, should be allowed to set their tuition rate without Jeff City telling them how much they can raise it.”
Hulshof says the market will take care of it. The Commission report says that the 2007 Senate Bill 389 put “unnecessary and burdensome tuition controls in place.” The report says that the needs of each campus are unique and that the Governing Boards should be given back this responsibility.
The Review Commission also recommends that the UM System be moved to a two-year funding cycle from the Missouri Legislature. Hulshof tells Missourinet that would allow more accurate planning and budgeting.
“So instead of having it be a constant, ‘oh what’s going to happen. Well we’re ok for this year, oh we’re not ok for this year,’ it would give them a little opportunity to plan,” says Hulshof.
The UM System’s annual budget is about $3 billion, which includes all four campuses and MU Health Care. The Review Commission’s report notes that in 2016, the state allocated $427 million of the System’s $1.2 billion operating budget.
The Review Commission also recommends that the UM System have in place by early 2018 “a robust set of accountability measures”, coinciding with the start of each Missouri legislative session.
Missourinet reached out to a UM System spokesman on Thursday to see if the System has any response to the report. We received a statement from UM System Interim President Mike Middleton on Friday.
“Upon receiving the University of Missouri System Review Commission Report, I plan to review with the leadership team to assess the recommendations. We will certainly consider adopting any recommendations that add to the betterment of the university’s mission and will help us continue to provide a high-quality education for our students.”
The report has been sent to Missouri House Speaker Todd Richardson (R-Poplar Bluff) and Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard (R-Joplin).
The Review Commission was established this year under a Senate concurrent resolution sponsored by State Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia). Schaefer said this year that the future of the UM System was unclear, without some oversight.
Governor Jay Nixon (D) withheld $750,000 in state funding for the Commission this summer, citing less-than-projected revenue growth for the last fiscal year. That funding was aimed at providing Commission members with resources from outside staff.