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University of Missouri system employees laid off ahead of budget announcements

The University of Missouri System is beginning to cut costs for the upcoming budget year by letting go top positions within its University Relations Department.

ABC 17 News confirmed Thursday that Chief Communications Officer John Fougere was laid off from his position Wednesday.

Director of Internal Communications Michael Kateman posted on his personal Facebook page Thursday morning that he was no longer employed at the UM System.

“At this time, we have nothing to share regarding personnel matters,” said Kelly Wiemann, the assistant director of strategic communications in University Relations, in an email Thursday.

ABC 17 News is working to confirm the layoffs of other top positions within the department that were also reported Thursday.

The news of layoffs come less than 24 hours before UM System President Mon Choi is scheduled to talk about the FY2018 budget.

In a news release sent by Wiemann Thursday, it stated: “President Choi will outline the reallocation and strategic investment decisions made at the campus and system level which support the University’s areas of excellence and its critical mission of teaching, research and outreach.”

More than 80 layoffs and more than 300 jobs are expected to be eliminated at the Columbia campus. In a proposed budget submitted to President Choi on May 19, Interim Chancellor Garnett Stokes said MU is facing approximately $60 million in cuts for fiscal year 2018.

President Choi will address the community about the expected cuts at 1 p.m. Friday at the Memorial Union. ABC 17 News will livestream the event online at

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