Missouri lawmakers, dissatisfied with how the University of Missouri System has operated this school year, are looking to take away some control from its board of curators.
State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, a Columbia Republican, has sponsored a bill that would establish a commission to review the university with authority to recommend changes. It also notes that whether the university does or does not follow the commission’s recommendations will be considered during the next year's budget process.
Schaefer is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and is running for state attorney general.
“My goal in filing this resolution is to provide an objective evaluation of the university’s structure, accountability and transparency,” Schaefer said in a statement.
The job of the proposed commission would be to review the university system’s collected rules and regulations, administrative structure, campus structure, auxiliary enterprise structure, degree programs, research activities and diversity programs.
“We are always receptive to the input of the General Assembly,” said John Fougere, a university spokesman.
“We look forward to working with the commission to review the UM System’s operations and processes,” Fougere said, “and the board of curators will utilize its authority to adopt any of the commission’s recommendations the board believes will add to the betterment of the university.”
The eight-member commission would consist of four members appointed by the president pro tempore of the Senate, and four members appointed by the speaker of the House.
Expenses for the commission would be paid through the state’s Department of Higher Education.
Schaefer said he believes the measure is “necessary to ensure the long-term survival and growth of this capable institution, and to earn back the trust and respect that has been lost through a series of recent poor decisions.”
Missouri legislators have not been happy with the way leaders at University of Missouri’s Columbia campus and the system’s board of curators have responded to months of upheaval at Missouri that culminated with student protests, a hunger strike, a football player walkout and resignations of the system president and campus chancellor.
Most recently lawmakers had called for the firing of an MU assistant professor who was captured on video calling for “muscle” and pushing a student journalist during a campus protest. In another video she was heard cursing at police. Three months after the first video surfaced, curators, last month, fired Melissa Click and this week rejected her appeal of the firing.