In a news conference Tuesday, Chancellor Brady Deaton said he had met with his senior staff to begin drafting a strategy to implement the a hiring freeze on the MU campus.
UM system President Gary Forsee ordered the freeze in a memo to all UM faculty and staff members Monday. Deaton said UM system president Gary Forsee will be meeting with all four chancellors next Monday to discuss their plans.
“He’s asked us to provide him with the framework of the plan we will be using to address position openings as we look to the future,” Deaton said.
Deaton said he will have the power to override the freeze when he deems it vital to the campus. The plan to be decided on Monday will outline that procedure.
“We are not going to stop meeting emergency needs in healthcare,” Deaton said.
Deaton said student jobs fall under the freeze unless they are grant-funded, contractual or funded by student fees. This includes all Missouri Students Association jobs and work-study programs.
About 300 faculty and staff positions are open at MU. In total, the university employs over 12,000 people, with faculty making up 850 of those positions.
“We are basically looking to not increase the size of the university,” Deaton said.
He said the freeze is not an absolute halt, but an admission that the university will not be growing in terms of human resources.
After learning of the policy, Missouri Students Association Senate speaker Jonathan Mays drafted a resolution along with MSA Vice President Chelsea Johnson and Budget Chairman Matt Sheppard to exempt students from the freeze.
The legislation asks that because some students rely on part-time jobs to help pay for college, they be exempt from the freeze.
“It just doesn't make any sense to freeze student employment,” Mays said in an e-mail. “Students are exactly whom should be hired in these situations because we're paid part time and we don't get benefits.”
Mays, Johnson and MSA President Jim Kelley met with Cathy Scroggs, vice chancellor for Student Affairs about the resolution. Mays said she was supportive.
Mays said he has been in touch with other student governments in order to gain support for the resolution.
Deaton said in light of the current economic conditions, the hiring freeze is a prudent measure to ensure the quality of the university education and facilities.
Deaton said there would be enough quality faculty to accommodate the record enrollment expected next year.
“We expect we will be able to provide a quality education for those students we accept,” Deaton said.
There have not yet been any building projects put on hold due to the economy, though it is an area of concern.
“We are examining the capital market and our ability to generate financing,” Deaton said.
MU’s last hiring freeze was in 2002, when $46 million was cut from the state higher education budget.
“There have been at least a few during my time in Jesse Hall,” Deaton said.
Deaton said his staff is seasoned in dealing with issues like this, and are prepared to continue business as usual.