- Phone: (573) 882-4430
- E-mail: BasiC@umsystem.edu
As the Chair of the Board of Curators of the University of Missouri System, I’m often asked how MU is doing since the events of 2015. I’m direct in saying that mistakes were made at MU. But, those individuals responsible for the mistakes are no longer leading the university. And obviously, the institution has paid a price for the mistakes of those individuals. Now we have a new leadership team in place, to support the important work of our students, faculty and staff to achieve excellence. We have also affirmed our commitment to free speech. We are investing in the student experience and returning to our roots as a land-grant university, serving the state and nation through breakthrough research and service.
We’re also busy at work transforming the university to create a more resilient and accountable university. In fact, we are making strategic decisions to reallocate money, reducing the size of administration and cutting low-performing programs. Simultaneously, we are reinvesting millions into student financial support and programs of excellence.
We also have undergone an administrative review covering all four of our universities. The review from an external organization identified several areas where we could combine services and save money, and we are acting on many of those recommendations, not because of an enrollment decline but because we take our jobs as stewards of public resources very seriously.
As a University of Missouri curator, an alumnus and father of two graduates, I have a keen understanding of the work ahead of us, including rebuilding trust across the state and nation. What’s really happening at Mizzou is that we are turning the corner. During the past two years, we have received record donations and our incoming class is rebounding—this year’s freshman class is expected to be 14 percent larger than last fall’s class. This could not have been accomplished without the hard work of our faculty, staff and students and the many alumni and supporters who never wavered from the strong foundations and principles at Mizzou.
Importantly, we have not shied away from discussions around free speech on campus. I’m proud that Mizzou is a bastion of free speech, and that we have successfully hosted speakers representing all sides of issues – from Ben Shapiro to Angela Davis—and every speaker has been able to present their views to students in a collegial manner. At Mizzou, we don’t shout speakers down. We listen, we debate and we come out of the conversation stronger for having it.
In my interactions with Missourians across the state, it’s clear to me that pride in the state’s flagship university is roaring back. That the Missouri House and Senate worked together this year to fully restore our funding speaks volumes about their confidence in us.
As Missouri is the “Show-Me State,” I invite everyone (of every background, experiences and beliefs) not to take my word for the turnaround at Mizzou but come here for a visit. We’d love to show you Missouri.