COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — The University of Missouri is hiring the top Missouri state senator's chief of staff to be the four-campus system's lead lobbyist.

University of Missouri System President Mun Choi on Monday announced Dusty Schnieders will start Nov. 1. He's currently chief of staff to Republican Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard, one of the most powerful state lawmakers.

The hiring comes as the University of Missouri System is still working on rebuilding its image and relationships with lawmakers after protests in November 2015 at the Columbia campus over the school's handling of racial issues

Choi in May had eliminated most of the positions in the system's University Relations office, including three people who lobbied for the university system on the state and national level.