Missouri legislators press to keep university seats vacant
COLUMBIA (AP) — Missouri's Democratic governor is pledging to circumvent the Republican-led Legislature if needed to fill vacancies on the board overseeing the state's flagship university.
Gov. Jay Nixon's announcement Thursday further escalated the tensions of legislators already frustrated about the handling of racial issues that culminated in the resignations of the system president and campus chancellor.
The only two black members of the Board of Curators, which runs the University of Missouri's four-campus system, resigned last week amid the turmoil. That left three of the nine seats on the board vacant. GOP leaders say they have no interest in filling the vacancies before next year, when Nixon is out of office.
The Columbia campus was the site of protests in November over what activists said was administrators' indifference to racial issues.