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.”

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  • Galen Bacharier is an assistant city editor at the Missourian. He has reported on higher education, state government and breaking news. Reach him at or on Twitter @galenbacharier.

  • 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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