Six administrators addressed questions on campus diversity and race relations, staff compensation, graduate student stipends, campus operations and safety and budget on Oct. 6 at the Staff Open Forum.
Taking part in the discussion were Garnett Stokes, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs; Gary Ward, vice chancellor for operations; Jatha Sadowski, associate vice chancellor for human resources; Rhonda Gibler, vice chancellor for finance; and Kelly Stuck, University of Missouri System assistant vice president of human resources.
Becky Stafford, head of the Staff Advisory Council, also took part in the discussion.
Campus Diversity and Race Relations
Stokes, filling in for Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin, began the forum by addressing campus diversity and race relations with the close to 50 staff members attending in Memorial Union’s Stotler Lounge. More than an additional 100 staff members watched the forum online through the live feed.
Stokes commended the MU students’ quick reporting of the racist incident that occurred only about 24 hours before the Open Forum. She credited the students’ quick reporting and a willingness to speak with authorities as key factors in identifying the individual responsible for the racist remarks.
In addition to the identification and removal of the individual from campus by the Office of Student Conduct, Stokes addressed the forthcoming announcements on the national search for the new Vice Chancellor for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity position and the campus-wide diversity and inclusion training.
Staff Pay and Compensation
Jatha Sadowski, associate vice chancellor of human resources, addressed questions concerning staff pay and compensation. She noted that the federal government is planning to announce changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) classification parameters for exempt versus hourly workers based on the annual salary threshold. Since 2004, the minimum salary for exempt employees has been around $23,000.
According to Sadowski, the University is studying and following the issue closely. When a decision is made by the federal government the University will hold public forums regarding any changes.
Campus Operations and Safety
Vice Chancellor for Operations, Gary Ward, answered questions regarding bicycle and pedestrian safety on campus. Any staff member or student owning and operating a bicycle on the MU campus is required to observe and obey all signs and traffic laws.
In addition, all bicycles operated on campus are required to be registered with the MU Police Department. This registration fulfills the City of Columbia ordinance requiring bicycle registration. Lowry Mall and the Arts and Science Mall will continue to be designated as dismount zones. The University of Missouri Police Department will be issuing tickets and warnings for violation of the law and campus regulations.
Ward also addressed campus road closures. To keep the large number of students, faculty and staff on the MU campus safe, portions of Hitt Street, Ninth Street and Rollins Road will continue to remain closed to traffic between 8:15 a.m. and 3:45 p.m.
Kelly Stuck, University of Missouri System assistant vice president of human resources, addressed potential changes to University of Missouri System retirees’ health insurance. Stuck recommends that staff and faculty with questions about retirement, or retirees with questions about changing benefits, contact UM retirement specialists and schedule a one-on-one consultation.
The Staff Advisory Council is working on compiling a list of the submitted questions and answers addressed during the Open Forum, as well as those not addressed in the Open Forum. Staff can request the list by emailing the Staff Advisory Council at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.