MU will not outsource about 30 campus landscaping jobs after determining that none of the proposals submitted by vendors save enough money to justify the decision, the university announced Friday.

Eight qualified bids were submitted by local and national companies, MU said in a news release. The university has not determined whether custodial services, which has about 250 positions, will be outsourced.

“Current budgetary circumstances require the university to make tougher financial decisions than ever before,” MU Vice Chancellor of Operations Gary Ward said in a news release. “At this time, it’s in the best financial interest of the university to maintain current operations for landscape services.”

Ward sent an email to campus operations staff this week warning discipline after many protested the plan at Jesse Hall, one of three such rallies.

Almost 1,000 students, staff and faculty signed a letter opposing the plan to outsource custodial and landscaping jobs last week. That letter was supported in a resolution passed by MU’s Faculty Council this week.

The entire MU campus constitutes the Mizzou Botanic Garden. Its mission is to “serve as a public resource providing educational opportunities through the collections, display, interpretation and conservation of plants suited to central Missouri in a manner which inspires, educates and delights visitors of all ages.”

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

Recommended for you

Join the conversation

When posting comments, please follow our community guidelines:
• Login with a social account on WorldTable.
• Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language or engage in personal attacks.
• Stay on topic. Don’t hijack a forum to talk about something else or to post spam.
• Abuse of the community could result in being banned.
• Comments on our website and social media may be published in our newspaper or on our website.