- Associated Press - Thursday, November 3, 2016

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The contract of the University of Missouri system’s new president shows he will earn $530,000 a year in base salary, along with nearly $80,000 annually in deferred compensation and housing allowances.

University of Connecticut Provost Mun Choi, introduced Wednesday as the four-campus Missouri system’s next overseer starting in March, will earn $52,000 more than the current interim president, Mike Middleton, and his predecessor Tim Wolfe, who resigned a year ago.

But a spokesman for the Missouri system, John Fougere, noted that the difference in base pay between Choi and his predecessors is roughly equivalent to the amount of performance payouts included in Middleton’s and Wolfe’s contracts. That performance pay isn’t in Choi’s five-year deal.

Choi, 52, also will get $50,000 per year in deferred compensation that will be deposited into an account, though he will forfeit that money if he doesn’t stay on the job through at least June 2020.

Choi’s contract also calls for a $2,400 monthly housing allowance and a university vehicle, and it bars him from outside employment or serving on any board without prior approval of the university system’s governing curators.

The Columbia campus still grapples with some of the racial tensions that led to the November 2015 resignations of Wolfe and R. Bowen Loftin, the campus’ chancellor, amid nationally watched student protests over what some saw as administrators’ indifference to racism and other issues. That unrest escalated with one student’s hunger strike and the football team’s announcement they would boycott a nonconference game if complaints weren’t taken seriously.

Afterward, the university became a magnet for state lawmaker complaints, with some calling for heightened scrutiny of the system’s budget and possible funding cuts.

In September, the Columbia campus temporarily suspended a fraternity over accusations of racial slurs directed toward black students. That matter is being investigated.

On Wednesday, Choi pressed to reporters that “the voices of faculty, students and staff - the true heart and soul of the institution - matter greatly to me.”

“I will be meeting but, more importantly, listening to their perspective, their history and the programs that mean a great deal to them,” he said.

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