The University of Missouri-Columbia is laying off 20 employees.

University of Missouri logo – Courtesy of University of Missouri

MU spokesman Christian Basi tells Missourinet 20 administrative employees in MU’s Division of Operations will be laid off, effective July 1.

Basi says the 20 employees’ responsibilities include Mizzou’s physical plant in Columbia and the safety of campus.

“This is the toughest decision that managers and directors at the university have to make, and it is very, very difficult for us to tell individuals that we do not have the resources to continue to employ them,” Basi says.

Basi emphasizes that the layoffs will not compromise the University’s safety.

He says the layoffs are due to a decline in state funding and an enrollment drop.

“We are under increasingly difficult budget stress and have to make these decisions,” says Basi. “We’re at a point now where our budget shortfalls are cutting into the core of our operations.”

Basi says total enrollment in the fall of 2016 was 33,266, with 4,772 freshmen. In the fall of 2015, total enrollment was 35,448, with 6,191 freshmen.

The “Columbia Daily Tribune” reports Gov. Eric Greitens restricted $31.4 million from the state’s current fiscal year budget for UM.

The 20 laid-off employees will receive transitional benefits.

“Which include some additional pay as well as benefits, and assistance in finding another place of employment or another position on campus,” Basi says.

Outplacement services that will be offered include resume-writing assistance.

He says the laid-off employees will receive at least four weeks of pay and a maximum of 26 weeks, depending on years of service.

Basi says the layoffs are expected to save the university $1.7 million in salary and benefits.

Basi also tells Missourinet that five administrative employees in the Mizzou Operations Division will retire.

The University of Missouri website notes Mizzou is a $2.2 billion enterprise.

The website says MU students “represent every Missouri county, all 50 states and 120 countries.” It says there are 305,000 alumni.