For Immediate Release:
Dec. 2, 2015

Contact: Kack Haslag
(573) 751-2853

Schmitt Backs Legislation Bringing Transparency and Accountability to Public Universities and Colleges

JEFFERSON CITY - State Senator Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, announced a reform package to bring transparency and accountability to state-funded higher education institutions.

One piece of the reform package will require course materials, including the syllabus, from courses taught at state-funded universities and colleges to be publicly accessible. The public will be able to view information covered in courses funded with taxpayer dollars.

The recent events at the University of Missouri have shined a light on one of its professors, Melissa Click, an assistant professor at the Department of Communications. Professor Click has taught a course titled, Television Program Analysis and Criticism. The university course catalog only gives the following information about the course: Development of critical viewing skills including analysis of program conventions, genres, and television aesthetics. This course is just one example where taxpayers deserve to know more about what’s being taught in the classroom. Taxpayers have a right to know what television shows are viewed, what are “program conventions” and other basic information about the course.

“The taxpayers of Missouri spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year to fund our colleges and universities,” Schmitt said. “At a minimum, the taxpayers should know what topics professors are teaching our students and what resources they are using. We are not telling a professor how to teach a course, but that professor should be transparent about what he or she is conveying to our students.”

The next piece of the reform would require the state auditor to annually audit the University of Missouri System. This would be a top down audit of the entire system and provide insight into how the system spends hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money each year.

“Auditing the University of Missouri System is about transparency,” Schmitt said. “We are entrusting university administrators with a lot of money and we expect that investment to be converted into a world-class university producing world-class graduates. We have to be to sure the administrators are spending our tax dollars wisely.”