Board of Curators discusses renovations to facilities, sexual assault

Wolfe thanked the chancellors in advance for reviewing campus policies regarding sexual assault and mental health services.

MU proposed $32 million in renovations to Lafferre Hall to support their strategic operating plan for increased student enrollment at the Jan. 31 UM System Board of Curators meeting.

The facility scored a 0.91 on the Facilities Conditions Needs Index, which means 91 percent of its systems need replacement. If renovated, the building could provide resources for an additional 4,000 engineering students.

Other potential projects discussed include $15 million in renovations and additions to McKee Gymnasium, $22 million for Waters Hall and $24 million to Mumford Hall.

Tom Richards, UM System interim vice president for finance and treasurer, said the facilities scored 0.8, 0.8 and 0.5, respectively. The university aims to decrease the Facilities Conditions Needs Index to 0.3 in 10 years.

A discussed source for funding was student facilities fees. The UM System could potentially impose a $300-$350 annual fee per full-time student, which student representative Amy Johnson opposed.

Johnson said that additional fees on top of tuition, athletic fees and/or costs of living was burdensome and unfair.

Other potential sources of funding for the project include state capital appropriations, 15-year-financing, and a $17.7 million annual debt service.

Facility updates for the system as a whole are currently backlogged at $1.3 billion, with $35 million critical and $186 million urgent.

The universities also gave the internal audit quarterly report. Staff pay at MU is currently at an average of $46,007, with a total of $240,110,623.

The meeting concluded with a statement from UM System President Tim Wolfe concerning the decision of the Board of Curators to hire an independent attorney to look into the details surrounding the Sasha Menu Courey case.

“Sasha’s story really is heartbreaking and sad, and we are determined to learn from her experience and improve the way we serve people on our campuses who have been victims of sexual assault or have mental health issues," he said. "In that way, we can honor her memory. I want to thank the board for voting to hire an independent counsel to help us really understand the matters pertaining to Sasha.”

Wolfe said he would like to thank the chancellors in advance for the work they would do in reviewing campus policies regarding sexual assault and mental health services.

Wolfe also addressed meeting these needs through increased funding and programs targeted toward prevention and treatment.

“We can’t lose sight of the fact that this is about human beings,” Wolfe said. “Even one sexual assault incident is too many. We can never be satisfied with where we are because it will never be good enough until we eliminate all sexual assaults on our campuses and address all the mental health issues that unfortunately we have with our students and on other campuses.”

Wolfe said he would be tweeting links toward information related to articles and research as well, saying that he would be taking the efforts very seriously.

The president also thanked outgoing interim Chancellor Steve Owens for his service and welcomed incoming MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin.

Loftin will assume the full measure of his duties Feb. 1.

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