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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

More layoffs to come with merger between Division of Student Affairs, Division of Operations

Seven administrative positions will be eliminated in a move to create a new “Dean of Students” position, and management of student affairs facilities will pass to the Division of Operations, with more potential layoffs still to come.

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Jesse Hall Monday, April 4, 2015 on the Francis Quadrangle in Columbia, Mo.

Marilyn Haigh/Senior Staff Photographer

July 7, 2017

Corrected 07/07/2017 at 12:41 p.m. A previous version of this story stated that the vice chancellor for Student Affairs position would be eliminated. Rather, the assistant vice chancellor for Student Affairs position will be eliminated.

Layoffs and substantial administrative changes were announced for the Division of Student Affairs Thursday as part of a restructuring initiative, which will place its management under control of the Division of Operations.

The university anticipates that 10 to 15 facilities management positions will be laid off as a result of the move. One hundred sixty-five other facilities management positions, which include “maintenance, custodial and design staff who take care of dining and residence halls, the student unions and recreation complex,” will be relocated to the Division of Operations, according to the Division of Student Affairs’ website. Management of MU facilities will be handled by the Division of Operations effective July 6. This does not include MU Health Care or intercollegiate athletics facilities.

According to an email to faculty from interim vice chancellor for Student Affairs Gary Ward, the restructure will also eliminate seven administrative positions, including the assistant vice chancellor for Student Affairs position, and several director-level positions.

These positions will be eliminated to make way for a new “Dean of Students” position, who will oversee Student Unions, Student Recreation, the offices of Student Life and Student Conduct, as well as Residential & Greek Life offices, according to the Division of Student Affairs’ website. The university has not announced who will fill this position.

MU spokesman Christian Basi said the changes will save the university about $1.5 million. However, more changes are likely to come.

Basi said the university plans to hire an outside consultant at the end of July to review the Department of Student Affairs and present recommendations on further changes to the chancellor’s office. The review will potentially be completed during the fall semester.

“We’ve been reviewing and will continue to review… how each and every dollar is spent at the university and make a determination as to whether those dollars are being spent in a way that is strategic to the university and its mission, which is to educate students,” Basi said.

Aside from the 165 staff being relocated to the Division of Operations, several facilities management employees will be laid off, according to the Division of Student Affairs’ website. Basi said as many as 10 to 15 additional layoffs could take place, and the university intends to notify those employees who will be losing their jobs by August.

The number of additional layoffs will partially depend on voluntary separations, or employees who choose to leave the university for a different job. Basi said the number of individuals who decide to take the potential layoffs as an opportunity to do something else or find another job may affect the number of layoffs that take place.

Basi said there have been approximately $2.3 million in budget cuts directly from the Division of Student Affairs since the first round of budget cuts in June.

The merger with the Division of Operations is expected to save the university approximately $750,000 and the administrative reductions an additional $745,000.

“We’re utilizing that money to address the budget crisis, specifically in that division, as well as strategically [investing] in programs that will impact students directly,” Basi said.

This is a developing story. Follow @TheManeater on Twitter for updates.

Edited by Zia Kelly | zkelly@themaneater.com

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