The University of Missouri’s Division of Operations informed 20 employees this week that they will be laid off.
The news comes amid a decrease in enrollment and unprecedented budget cuts from the state.
MU spokesperson Christian Basi confirmed the layoffs to ABC 17 News on Wednesday. He said five staff members will also be retiring within that division and those positions will not be refilled.
“These decisions are never easy,” Basi said. “However, the university must adjust our staffing levels to ensure the long-term economic sustainability of Mizzou.”
He added that “those employees who were laid off will be provided transition benefits, and they will receive priority consideration to be rehired as positions become available.”
Each school and unit is responsible for balancing its budget. Because of financial troubles, some leaders have begun to restructure their departments, which includes layoffs, Basi said.
UM System President Dr. Mun Choi has been warning of possible layoffs amid significant budget cuts from the state. Gov. Eric Greitens’ proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year cuts funding for higher education by more than $100 million. An additional $37 million has been withheld from the UM System’s current budget. Choi has said he expects $57 million in cuts to the system’s permanent funding.
“While we will do whatever we can to ensure we treat all our staff members as humanely and compassionately as possible, I want to share with you that we are facing some significant challenges,” Choi said at a news conference last month.
In addition to layoffs, it’s a possibility some programs will be cut. One MU student said she has faith in the student body, despite the recent troubles.
“Even with budget cuts and program cuts and different things like that-I know there are students that are going to rise up out of that,” Brooke Wiggins told ABC 17 News.
The UM System announced its budget-planning process for the upcoming fiscal year earlier this week. College, division or department leaders at MU have until April 28 to decide how they will supply their portion of the reserve funds that will be used to make up the university’s $20 million shortfall in its current budget.