Monday, January 10, 2011

Brown Asks UC Students and Unions to Help Cut the UC Budget by $500 Million

The new California governor, Jerry Brown, has just announced a reduction of the UC and CSU budgets by $500 million each for 2011-12, and this time, the cuts will not be replaced by any federal recovery money. While the UC system will probably still show a net increase in revenue, the state cuts will most likely result in another round of layoffs, fee increases, and other austerity measures.

However, there is a big new wrinkle in this process: Brown is asking students and union representatives to help make reductions to the UC budget. Here is the relevant passage from his budget proposal: “A decrease of $500 million in 2011‐12 to reflect necessary funding reductions to help resolve the budget deficit. These reductions are intended to minimize fee and enrollment impacts on students by targeting actions that lower the costs of instruction and administration. The Administration will work with the Office of the President and the Regents, as well as stakeholders (including representatives of students and employees), to determine the specific mix of measures that can best accomplish these objectives.” In other words, for the first time, a governor will try to control the UC budget and attempt to cut unneeded expenses like administrative salaries and athletic subsidies.

Part of this new process was brought on by the attempt of 36 of the highest paid administrators to receive a higher pension. Brown, who has never been a big fan of UC elitism, is going to try to circumvent the university’s autonomous status by tying general funds to specific budget reductions. These moves will also coincide with the state audit of the UC budget, and so we should expect a very defensive posture coming from the Regents and the Office of the President. All stakeholders should start to position themselves to influence this process in a positive way.


  1. to what extent are the gov and legislature able or willing to help students and unions find out about legal options in getting full disclosures on $$ auxiliaries and endowments?

  2. The audit will look at issues concerning auxiliaries and endowments, and Senator Lee will push for more transparency.

  3. KPIX Phil Matier just reported on tv that Brown wants the cuts by March- the audit findings on UC don't come out until April.
    Senator Yee's work on transparency for auxiliaries -if passed- won't go into effect until the new year-- a vote on it likely will be occurring at the same time the cuts are being announced.
    How are staff and students supposed to make good recommendations on cuts by March without having all the necessary information- they need the gov and leg and AG to assist them in getting QUICK access to info on the books it seems so that they can participate fully in the discussion of cuts.

  4. Thanks, Bob. I was out of CA last year, and so not keeping up with one idea, promoted by Lee, to tax oil and gas and direct those funds into education. Is that idea still alive?

  5. University of California Faculty, UCOP executives team up and curb cost of tuition for Californians. Californians pay toward University of California (UC) costs: the UC 10 campus system is not untouchable. As Californians face foreclosure, unemployment & depressed wages it's time the timid Governor, UC Board of Regents, whining President showed leadership by curbing costs, particularly wages, benefits. As a Californian, I don't care what others earn at private, public universities. If wages are better elsewhere, chancellors, vice chancellors, tenured, non tenured faculty, UCOP should apply for the positions. If wages keep employees committed to UC, leave for the better paying job. The sky above UC will not fall. California suffers from the worst deficit in modern times. UC wages, benefits must reflect California's ability to pay, not what others are paid elsewhere. Campus chancellors, vice chancellors, tenured & non-tenured faculty, UCOP are replaceable by more talented individuals.
    Curb UC tuition increases:
    No furloughs
    18 percent reduction in UCOP salaries & $50 million cut.
    18 percent prune of campus chancellors', vice chancellors' salaries.
    15 percent trim of tenured faculty salaries, increased teaching load
    10 percent decrease in non-tenured faculty salaries, as well as increase research, teaching load
    100% elimination of all Academic Senate, Academic Council costs, wages.

    A rose bush blooms after pruning.

    The Governor, UC Board of Regents, whining President can bridge the trust gap to the public by offering reassurances that salaries reflect depressed wages in California. The sky above UC has not, will not fall.

    Californians are reasonable people. Levy no new taxes until an approved balanced budget: let the Governor/Legislature lead: make the tough-minded (not cold hearted) decisions of elected leadership. Afterwards come to the public for specified, continuing or new taxes.

    Thanking you in advance for your partnership & for standing up for Californians, University of California10 campuses.

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