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Berkeleyan

Special ‘budget edition’ of Bear in Mind now on web

| 10 September 2003

 



Campus leaders Paul Gray and Horace Mitchell and student Regent Matt Murray joined Chancellor Berdahl in a discussion of budget issues at the latest Bear in Mind taping.
Bonnie Azab Powell photo

In the face of severe cuts to UC’s state funding for this fiscal year, the campus has been wrestling with how to keep its balance sheet in the black while preserving the stellar academic experience it offers students. To report on the campus climate around the budget cuts, Chancellor Berdahl recently taped a special edition of his radio-style interview show, Bear in Mind. The episode was made available on the Bear in Mind website on Sept. 5.

“We have turned away no students, and we have largely protected the academic program,” Berdahl said. “But we are faced with a $25.5-million reduction in state funding this fiscal year. And that makes it difficult for everyone here. It is difficult for students paying higher fees, for staff who face job cutbacks and workload increases, and for faculty seeing reduced state research funding and other resources cut back, as well as no salary increases during this year.”

Berdahl invited panelists Paul Gray, executive vice chancellor and provost; Horace Mitchell, vice chancellor for business and administrative services; and Matt Murray, UC student regent and Berkeley architecture major, to join him in Dwinelle Hall’s TV studio to help him discuss how faculty, staff, students, and operations have been affected by the budget shortfall. After a general discussion led by the chancellor, Media Relations Director Marie Felde asked the participants to answer questions that had been posted to the UC Berkeley NewsCenter’s Budget Central website, www.berkeley.edu/news/budget.

Among the questions fielded by the panel were:

• We’ve protected UC Berkeley’s instructional core. What about the rest of the campus?
• One of the guiding principles in managing the budget shortfall is that the people most affected by the cuts should decide where to make them. Has this been successful?
• Back in the early ’90s, the Library suffered from the effects of budget cuts. Is another slide inevitable?
• What are “unrestricted” funds, and why are they not used to stave off layoffs and other cutbacks?
• How many positions have been lost through layoffs and how many through keeping positions unfilled?
• How are the cuts affecting University Health Services and other student services?
• Have classes been canceled, and are there fewer lecturers or TAs for sections?

To listen to the show, or read a full transcript of the discussion, visit the Bear in Mind website at www.berkeley.edu/news/chancellor/bim/.