The University of Missouri System’s new fiscal year budget revealed today includes slashing 474 jobs – more than 300 of those are at the flagship campus in Columbia. President Dr. Mun Choi said Mizzou’s budget plan includes the elimination of 42 administrators, 173 staff positions and 130 faculty jobs.

Dr. Mun Choi (Photo courtesy of Peter Morenus/UConn)

“Eighty percent of our budget is in salaries and fringe benefits,” said Choi. “For us to be able to absorb $100 million of budget targets, without affecting employment, would’ve been inappropriate.”

Choi said some of the employees losing their jobs have served the university for more than 40 years.

“I think we have to be compassionate toward those individuals who, through no fault of their own, had their jobs eliminated,” said Choi.

He said severance pay offered to staff is one week of pay and benefits for every year of service.

Nicole Monnier, who spoke on behalf of non-tenure faculty, wants separation and severance policies to protect those faculty members.

“We deserve protections. The same kind of protections similar as staff and the tenured faculty,” said Monnier.

Members of the crowd applauded. Choi thanked Monnier for her comment.

Programs, majors and minors at certain campuses will also be eliminated, including in theatre, journalism, art history and public affairs.

“We can’t be all things to all people. We have across the four campuses, 400 majors. We duplicate majors campus to campus,” said Choi. “We cannot afford to have programs in which we don’t provide the highest level of student success and that’s going to be key moving forward.”

Choi said students currently in programs being cut will be given a chance to complete their degree.

A consulting firm will be hired soon to identify where duplication is occurring. If programs, centers and institutes don’t support academics, research and extension, Choi said they will be evaluated over the next few months. He said he’ll take a long hard look at that ones the university can no longer support, based on the level of return.

The budget plan is in response to a $36 million state funding reduction, $11 million in tuition revenue losses from a decline in enrollment, $15 million increase in things considered unavoidable costs, such as building maintenance, and nearly $39 million increase in investments like scholarships and stipends for students and hiring.