MU laid off and furloughed more employees this week as COVID-19 continues to take its toll on the budget and the university considers outsourcing roughly 250 custodial jobs.

No longer at risk of outsourcing, however, are the 30 landscaping positions at MU. A review of proposals from outside vendors determined there were no cost savings sufficient to justify outsourcing the services, MU announced in a news release later Friday afternoon.

This week, campus stakeholders continued to protest MU’s plan to potentially outsource the positions to outside contractors. MU’s Faculty Council passed a resolution Thursday opposing the plan and supporting a letter signed by almost 1,000 students, staff and faculty.

MU Vice Chancellor for Operations Gary Ward threatened discipline to staff via email Tuesday after many participated in a protest of the plan at Jesse Hall.

MU laid off 11 employees this week as of Wednesday, bringing the number of total layoffs to 148, according to an MU website that tracks budgetary actions. Total furloughs are up to 3,011, an increase of 384 from last week. Salary reductions, voluntary and mandatory, total 1,956.

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 pandemic-related cuts this year. The UM System Board of Curators approved the budget for fiscal year 2021 at its meeting this month.

For more COVID-19 related news, see our section dedicated to COVID-19 updates.
  • Galen Bacharier is a reporter and assistant city editor at the Missourian. He has previously reported on state government and higher education. Reach him at or on Twitter @galenbacharier.

  • Elizabeth Brixey is a city editor at the Columbia Missourian. She oversees coverage of education. She can be reached at (573) 882-2632 and

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