MU faculty, staff and students signed a letter opposing the outsourcing of custodial and landscaping jobs this week and pushing university leadership for “true change” on campus.
The letter, which gathered more than 450 signatures in 24 hours, will be presented to UM System President and Interim MU Chancellor Mun Choi on Wednesday, Kelli Canada, an associate professor in MU’s School of Social Work, said in an email. It was drafted by a “group of concerned faculty,” including Canada, and began circulating in the community Thursday evening, she said.
“Terminating over 250 individuals, many of whom are Black and Latinx, would keep Mizzou on the same, slow-moving path it has been on the last five years,” the letter, addressed to Choi and the UM System Board of Curators, states. “As President Choi vowed in his statement to the university, more needs to be done to initiate true change within the MU system in regards to race relations.”
About 16 outside companies submitted proposals to contract MU’s custodial and landscaping jobs, according to an MU website tracking budgetary actions updated each Friday. A committee will make a recommendation after reviewing the proposals, and MU will make a decision by early July. The decision could result in about 280 jobs being outsourced.
Protesters have gathered three times on campus to rally against the plan.
Also in this week’s update: Furloughs and savings from salary cuts decreased slightly this week “due to managers deciding to implement different cost-saving measures or taking other actions,” according to the website. It did not specify what those measures were.
MU laid off 13 employees this week as of Wednesday, bringing the number of layoffs to 137. Furloughs and total salary reductions (voluntary and mandatory) total 2,627 and 1,930 respectively, according to the website. Information used in the Friday update was current as of Wednesday.
Because the numbers reflect only layoffs that have officially been recorded by MU’s human resources system, it is possible that additional layoffs have been made but not yet registered online. Furloughs affect staff members and vary in length. Thirty-three employee contracts have not been renewed.
Data on salary cuts, furloughs and layoffs is not broken down by college or department.
The University of Missouri System is reviewing and adjusting its budgets quarterly as COVID-19 creates financial uncertainty. The system lost $52 million in cuts this year. On Thursday, the UM System Board of Curators approved the budget for fiscal year 2021.