The Maneater

Gubernatorial candidates discuss their plans for MU

In face of funding cuts and enrollment shrinking in MU, three gubernatorial candidates talk about their plans about MU.

With 100 days until the Missouri gubernatorial primary, The Maneater talked to three candidates about their vision for MU. The other candidates could not be reached for comment.

Republican Catherine Hanaway

Republican candidate Catherine Hanaway said she is committed to ensuring that public higher education in Missouri is adequately funded.

In light of the protests last fall, though, Hanaway said that the university should be held accountable because it receives public funding.

“I firmly believe that the legislature has the right to ask tough questions and demand tough answers from the (UM System) Board of Curators and administration at MU,” she said in an email.

As governor, Hanaway said she would appoint curators dedicated to maintaining MU’s traditions and to making sure that professors and students teach and learn at MU without “unnecessary distractions.”

“Mizzou should be the cornerstone of a state higher education system that is dedicated to excellence and geared to meet the needs of the people of Missouri,” Hanaway said.

Democrat Chris Koster

Democratic candidate Chris Koster, who is currently Missouri’s attorney general, is an MU graduate. He earned his liberal arts degree in 1987 and his law degree in 1991.

He said legislative funding cuts would do harm to students and the “long-term economic health of Missouri.”

“I personally understand the profound impact it has on students’ lives,” Koster said in an email.

Koster cited a new study, conducted by MU economics professor Ronald Harstad, which found that about 60 percent of MU graduates find jobs in Missouri and that every dollar reduced in funding to MU will reduce Missouri’s GDP by $38.43.

“As a governor, I will remain committed to ensuring tuition remains affordable and the university has the resources it needs to remain a world-class research institution,” Koster said. “By any measure, the University of Missouri provides a tremendous value and public service to our state.”

Republican John Brunner

Republican candidate John Brunner said the state needs to devote great efforts into solving the UM System’s problems but said that so far Gov. Jay Nixon and Koster are remaining silent.

“Leadership is missing in action,” Brunner said in an email. “Our board of lawyer-curators have responded by resigning.”

Last month, Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, proposed to create a “University of Missouri System Review Commission.” Brunner supports this action because he thinks it will help MU restore its leadership.

If Brunner becomes governor, he said plans to actively work on getting MU “back on track” by increasing MU’s funding and winning back the confidence of students and faculty.

He said his experience in the Marine Corps and in business could help him make changes at MU. If elected, Brunner plans to appoint strong leaders who are experienced in education and management as curators, not simply because they’re his friends.

“I will lead from the front lines,” he said. “I will be engaged and involved.”

Edited by Kyra Haas | khaas@themaneater.com

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