Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin answered questions from the media March 18 on a variety of topics, including new hires, student-athletes, buyouts and Title IX issues.
Last September, 261 faculty were offered payouts as part of the Voluntary Separation Program, of which 110 employees participated. In January, MU offered voluntary buyouts for 28 administrators who are also tenured faculty, retirement eligible and will be at least 62 years old by Aug. 31. Thirteen of the 28 have indicated they will take part in the program.
Most of the money being freed up will pay for signature faculty hires over the next two years, such as Thomas Spencer, a distinguished scholar with an appointment in the Division of Animal Sciences and a joint appointment in the School of Medicine’s Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health.
“This is our chance to renew our faculty,” Loftin said. “It gives us an opportunity to do even more extraordinary things here.”
Loftin said the Title IX office will hire two more Title IX investigators, bringing the total to three. He also praised the hiring of Ellen Eardley, who starts April 20 as MU’s assistant provost and Title IX administrator. Interim Title IX coordinator Linda Bennett will stay on until Aug. 31 to ensure a smooth transition.
Between August and December 2014, 135 potential violations of policy were reported to the Title IX office, Loftin said.
“The structure of reporting is so much better,” Loftin said, adding, “We’ve made great progress here, but there is more to do. We will never stop trying to get better.”
Finally, Loftin praised the hiring of Mack B. Rhoades IV as MU’s new Intercollegiate Athletics director. Rhoades is known for supporting student-athletes both on the field and in the classroom, Loftin said.