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University of Missouri System looks to showcase work with legislative day

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – If things seemed a little more black and yellow at the Missouri State Capitol on Wednesday, it might have something to do with the fact that it was the annual legislative day for the University of Missouri System.

Members of the UM System flocked to Jefferson City in hopes of highlighting the work of the four universities (Columbia, Kansas City, Rolla, and St. Louis) and demonstrating the value to Missouri’s citizens and communities.

Among those from the UM System included UM System President Mun Choi and other leaders, as well as the mascots from each respective school. Members of the Mizzou Athletic Department like Football Coach Barry Odom, QB Drew Lock, Head Wrestling Coach Brian Smith, and Olympic bronze medalist J’Den Cox were also in attendance for the showcase held at the DoubleTree Hotel.

The University of Missouri System looks to educate more than 70,000 students each year, granting more than half of the degrees given out across the state.

In the FY 2018 budget, the UM System is requesting $456 million, $419 million of which is for the “continuance of core operations.”

To do so, the UM System presented an entire showcase of more than one dozen exhibits

But the legislative day also comes as the University has notified some non-tenure faculty that their contracts will not be renewed, citing the proposed cuts to higher education by Gov. Eric Greitens, as well as uncertainty regarding the efforts attempting to reduce those cuts during the legislature’s work on the budget.

“Despite our best efforts, the University of Missouri continues to face significant budget challenges,” Interim Provost Jim Spain said in a letter Wednesday. “While we work productively with our legislators, it remains prudent for us to plan on a potential significant drop in state revenue for the upcoming fiscal year.”

The Governor’s 2019 budget proposal would decrease the higher education funding by $70 million from the prior numbers in 2018.

“As the budget picture is clarified, we will be able to make additional decisions, including potential renewals of (non-tenured) faculty later in the spring,” Spain wrote in his letter. “If that happens, we could hire some of these individuals back; however, we’re not in a position currently to renew all contracts for next year.”