UM System Curators approve amendment to non-discrimination policy, fiscal year 2015 budget

The FY2015 operating budget of approximately $1.2 billion and features up to 3 percent in salary increases across the four campuses.

The UM System Board of Curators convened at MU for its annual June session to discuss a variety of topics such as the system’s non-discrimination policy, operating budget and campus projects.

Reconsidering non-discrimination

The curators discussed the UM System’s non-discrimination policy, which only included “sexual orientation” in the past, and did not include “gender identity” or “gender expression,” according to Betsy Rodriguez, the system’s vice president for human resources.

Rodriguez said many peer institutions, including 30 of 34 public universities in the Association of American Universities, include gender identity and expression in their policies.

Curator John Philips said the subject came to the attention of the board after four student governing bodies, including the Missouri Students Association, as well as two faculty governing bodies across the UM campuses petitioned to amend the policy’s language.

The policy amendment was approved with seven votes in favor and one vote in opposition from Curator David Steward.

Addressing sexual assault and mental health

The curators unanimously voted in favor of amending Chapter 200 of the system’s Collected Rules and Regulations.

The revised section under “student conduct” now states that “a student who believes he or she has been discriminated against based upon his or her sex may file a complaint with the Title IX Coordinator for the campus.”

Earlier this month, Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin announced the Title IX coordinator would be made a full-time position at MU.

After reports of former Missouri swimmer Sasha Menu Courey’s case were released, the curators commissioned the St. Louis-based law firm Dowd Bennett, LLP to investigate MU’s handling of the case.

The firm’s report in April concluded that in its handling of Menu Courey’s case, MU did not properly follow Title IX guidelines, which prohibit sexual violence, sexual harassment and discrimination based on sex, according to the MU Equity Office.

The curators also unanimously passed a resolution to temporarily grant UM System president Tim Wolfe authority to make policies that address mental health and sexual assault issues prior to the fall semester.

The new policies, if any, will be reviewed by the curators at the October session.

Master Plan and new projects

A number of construction and renovation projects on MU’s campus were also presented to the curators.

One such project is the School of Medicine’s Patient Care Centered Learning Facility.

Gary Ward, interim vice president for administrative services, said the facility will cost $42.5 million and feature 16 first-year student classrooms, 16 second-year student classrooms, an anatomy lab, a simulation center, a 150-seat classroom and several seminar rooms.

The curators unanimously approved the project.

Ward also said renovations in Swallow Hall would require the replacement of the interior wooden structure. As a result, the project would cost $16.9 million, in comparison to the initially estimated $11.5 million, and would take eight additional months to complete.

The curators unanimously approved the the funding increase.

The curators also unanimously approved MU’s Master Plan.

The Residential Life aspect of the plan hopes to eventually house 100 percent of first-year students on campus and provide 1,000 additional beds for upperclassmen, totaling about 7,500 beds on campus.

To accomplish this goal, MU plans to finish construction on the Virginia Avenue South Housing by May 2015 and start the replacement of Jones Hall and the Pavillion at Dobbs dining hall by January 2015.

Ward also said that while there are no concrete plans at this time, discussions to renovate Manor House, a popular graduate student housing option, will continue throughout summer.

FY2015 budget

Tom Richards, UM System’s interim vice president for finance and treasurer, presented the system-wide operating budget for fiscal year 2015.

The operating budget of $1.2 billion will feature a $22.9 million increase — a 3.4 percent increase — in the total salary budget and a $7.9 million increase — a 3.9 percent increase — in the total employee benefits budget.

Rodriguez said at the April Faculty Council meeting that MU’s faculty salaries are “non-competitive” to peer institutions in the AAU.

The budget was passed unanimously by the board.

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