UM leadership discuss budget amidst threats of cuts

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JEFFERSON CITY - University of Missouri System Interim President Mike Middleton, along with the system's vice president of finance, spoke with lawmakers Wednesday after some legislators threatened budget cuts.

Rep. Stephen Webber, D-Columbia, said it's no secret some lawmakers want to reduce funding for the next fiscal year because of the events that recently transpired on MU's campus.

Middleton said a budget cut "would do real damage," and he asked the House Higher Education Appropriations Committee to remember the UM System is much more than those recent events.

The chair of the committee, Rep. Donna Lichtenegger, R-Jackson, said the committee has yet to make any decisions about future funding for MU.  She also said she's looking to the UM Board of Curators to show strong leadership as this issue is further discussed.

"I think that there's some questions of leadership that need to be answered," Lichtenegger said.  "Some questions of using budgets wisely, and so we're going to be looking at those things, and we're going to be looking at them very hard."

The Board of Curators is scheduled to meet Thursday, and finances are on the agenda.  Later this month, the board, Middleton, and MU's chancellor will discuss the budget with members of the Joint Committee on Education.