Almost 580 MU staff members have taken furloughs or are scheduled to take them before July 31, according to a new campus website showing budgetary actions.

The number jumped from zero last week because it is first week in which an overall accounting of layoffs and furloughs is being posted on the website. Updates will be posted each Friday and reflect information through the end of the previous Wednesday.

No layoffs were reported this week. However, last week 32 people in MU Health Care were laid off, bringing the number of MU employees out of jobs so far to 49, according to MU.

The length of the 579 furloughs varies from person to person, MU spokesperson Christian Basi confirmed.

According to the website, 569 people have taken pay cuts through July 31, most of them 10% cuts.

An additional 217 people took voluntary pay cuts, for up to three months and at rates of 1%, 2%, 5% or 10%.

Numbers on the website will not be broken down at departmental or divisional levels.

This week’s update also announced restructuring of administrative support in the offices of the University of Missouri System president and MU chancellor. Restructuring includes layoffs, reassignments and changing duties for certain staff. The actions are part of “an effort to reduce duplicity, minimize costs and increase efficiencies.”

MU, like the rest of the UM System, is facing a pandemic-related budget crisis that includes covering a $17 million gap for this year, fiscal year 2020, caused by state withholding. It’s about a month’s worth of funding for MU, Basi said. MU is also paying back millions in housing and dining refunds.

Last week, UM System President and Interim MU Chancellor Mun Choi said in a campus email that MU “must respond in fundamental ways, reevaluate our structure and invest in priorities that are important to our future. This will mean realignment, restructuring and loss of positions.”

MU budget officials have asked division fiscal officers to prepare for cuts of about 12.5% for fiscal year 2021, according to the website. A hiring freeze is in effect, and a committee has been created to make recommendations about program restructuring and elimination.

For more COVID-19 related news, see our section dedicated to COVID-19 updates.
  • Education reporter, spring 2020, studying investigative journalism and sociology. Reach me at, or in the newsroom at 882-5700.

  • Elizabeth Brixey is the Columbia Missourian's education editor and an associate professor in the Missouri School of Journalism. She can be reached at (573) 882-2632 and

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