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Budget Central

UC Berkeley faces $25.5 million in cuts under new state budget

– UC Berkeley officials said Thursday (7/31) that the new state budget will require them to cut campus spending by an estimated $25.5 million, but that nothing will be done to jeopardize the campus's tradition of academic excellence.

Vice Chancellor & Provost Paul Gray added that, because the campus has been diligently preparing for deep cuts for months, "The actual reductions the campus is going to experience are the same as we had been planning for since May."

The state budget, currently awaiting Gov. Gray Davis's signature, "will not result in any additional reductions or cuts beyond those known by the vice chancellors and by members of the campus community involved in making the reductions," Gray said.

Permanent cuts, he stressed, will target "areas that don't affect the classroom experience of the student or the quality of the educational experience."

The budget adopted this week by the California Legislature cuts state funding to UC programs by $410 million - $111 million more than Gov. Davis had proposed in his original budget for fiscal year 2003-04.

In a press release on Wednesday, UC President Richard Atkinson said the cuts will prompt reductions in non-instructional programs throughout the 10-campus UC system, a 30 percent increase in student fees, the borrowing of funds to offset the cuts, and a one-year delay of the opening of UC Merced. The 2003-04 state budget also provides no state funding for salary increases for faculty and staff. (Read the full UCOP statement.)

Gray said campus officials are still determining the exact amount of the state funding cut that will be allocated to UC Berkeley, but expect it to be in the area of $25.5 million.

He said permanent cuts to Berkeley's spending will target segments of the campus that do not directly affect university's instructional mission. Examples of such areas, he said, include "physical plant, campus services, business services, accounting, and central support functions for the campus's academic mission like the registrar's office."

Most of those reductions, he said, will be achieved through the elimination of unfilled positions and by combining unit functions to promote efficiency. But Gray added that "there are some layoffs involved," although the final number is still being determined. Some layoffs have already occurred during the spring semester and the summer.

"We will do all we can to minimize layoffs," he said.

Although officials are striving to limit the impact of the cuts on core instructional areas, academic units have been directed to make a one-time, 5 percent reduction in spending for this year in order to make the cuts to non-instructional services more gradual.

"That, in effect, creates an ability to cushion these really dramatic permanent reductions," Gray said. "We think this is a way to preserve the quality of the overall student experience here more effectively than trying to do these rather large permanent reductions on a one-time basis."