UM System sets timeline to manage significant budget cuts

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COLUMBIA – Representatives of the University of Missouri System emailed students, faculty and staff plans to address budget cuts to higher education.

Gov. Eric Greitens’ current FY17 budget withholds $37 million of the UM System’s share of the state budget. The proposed FY18 budget could withhold $56 million in permanent cuts.

UM System Spokesperson John Fougere described the message as a “budget guidance message” intended to lay out a plan for the UM System’s “significant budget constraints.”

Since June of 2013, Fougere’s first year on staff, the UM System has not experienced a budget cut of this magnitude.

“This is a difficult process, but there are guiding principles, well established guiding principles, on exercises like this,” Fougere said. “We have to meet our mission and continue to build a strong academic institution... under the realities of the budgets constraints we are under right now.”

Fougere added UM System President Mun Choi’s goal throughout this process is to evaluate the performance of specific programs throughout all parts of the UM System as it relates to areas such as faculty research, student outcome and engagement with community to name a few.

UM System representatives are calling for an overall budget cut between 8 to 12 percent throughout the UM System.

Students of the flagship university in Columbia are worried about the potential consequences associated with large budget cuts.

MU student Taylor Kinnerup said she understands the importance of a collective voice. Though changes will be inevitable, Kinnerup said she expects her representatives to be transparent and vocal.

“For me personally, the university needs to be much more transparent,” Kinnerup said. “This needs to be a collective [process].”

The UM System's next scheduled public meeting will be on May 10, where campus plans will be shared with the surrounding community for input.

(Editor's Note: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Mun Choi's name.)