MU staff to hold open forum amid concerns of low pay, poor morale

Staff Open Forum

Staff at the University of Missouri will be able to share their concerns with top administrators at an open forum Tuesday. 

The forum comes after the release of a campus climate survey in which 52 percent of staff respondents said they seriously considered leaving Mizzou. Nearly 60 percent of staff and faculty who seriously considered leaving said they did so because of low pay. 

"Basically that is reflective of our current climate. We have not as staff members gotten pay raises—standard across-the-board pay raises—in, I can't even remember the last time, and I've been here 11 years," Chrissy Kintner, assistant to the vice provost for enrollment management and strategic development and chair of staff council, said. "That's been more the norm than it has been the exception. What you're seeing in that survey is that people are kind of disgruntled about that." 

Tuesday's event will be the first staff open forum that Chancellor Alexander Cartwright will attend.

"He has been very receptive to staff," Kintner said of Cartwright. "Staff council meets with him monthly. He has been very open. He knows there's a problem with morale and with compensation."

In spite of the current climate, Kintner said she has confidence in the new administration.

At last month's curator's meeting, President Mun Choi said increasing staff and faculty salaries is a top priority. He also said the low pay has had a big affect on faculty and staff retention. 

“I do think that President Choi and Chancellor Cartwright have been very receptive to the fact that staff exist and the contributions we make to this institution," Kintner said. "President Choi met with staff council before he even started. That had never happened. And Chancellor Cartwright has been very open to meeting with us and working collaboratively." 

"This needs to be addressed and this needs to be addressed soon," Choi told the UM Board of Curators last month. "Going forward, we will need to cut expenses and find areas to grow revenue for merit increases for faculty and staff." 

Kintner said it's also important to remember the bigger picture. 

"For staff we really have to stick to what we do and why it is that we're here because we're here for something greater than just a paycheck."

The open staff forum will take place at 2 p.m. Tuesday in Memorial Union. 

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