Elson Floyd, president of the University of Missouri System, told a gathering of university employees Wednesday that it is too early to speculate whether layoffs will be necessary to reach administrative cost reductions announced in December for the four campuses and the central administration.
Floyd spoke to more than 100 employees at Jesse Wrench Auditorium on the MU campus, then took about a dozen questions from the crowd, which appeared largely supportive of the system president.
Floyd said he hopes to protect jobs while cutting administrative costs by the targeted 10 percent. The proposed cuts would be worth about $6.2 million at MU and about $12.5 million across the four-campus system.
“I have an obligation to protect the individuals already in the boat,” Floyd said. “That is my highest priority.”
Administrative cuts consist of non-teaching or “back of the house operations that support the students,” UM spokesman Joe Moore said. Human resources, administrative services and academic administration are areas that could be eliminated or consolidated to reach the reduction goals. Floyd said teachers, student researchers and academic programs should not be affected.
All four UM campuses have been asked to make preliminary plans for achieving the target reduction and issue a report in April. A final plan will be presented to the UM Board of Curators in July.
The campuses “are not asked to look at academic programs,” Floyd said, “but look at academic administration.”
However, while he said it is too soon to speak of layoffs, all options will be considered and “nothing is off the table.”
“We need to know the impact in its entirety first,” Floyd said. “That’s why we are doing the preliminary plan.”
Floyd said the money saved from the cuts will be redirected toward the strategic and academic priorities of the university in an effort to keep tuition costs stable.
“We’ve gone as far as we can go,” Chief of staff for Elson Floyd, David Russell said. “We want to not let the tuition costs grow anymore.”