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From the Chancellor's Office: Followup on the budget and senior administrators' actions

16 March 2009

Many faculty and staff are hoping to learn more about the university's plans to deal with the budget crisis, which were communicated in campus memos distributed March 8 and 9 and at a Leadership Forum last week. The campus is addressing the looming budget shortfall through a combination of revenue generation and cost reduction. Some of the measures that have been announced include a staff hiring freeze, a slow-down in hiring new faculty, a faculty retirement incentive program, and voluntary reductions in time through START, UC's Staff and Academic Reduction in Time program.

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Staff have been invited to a Town Hall meeting on March 24 and a faculty forum is also being planned, both to discuss the situation further and address questions.

One area that has recently been questioned is whether senior administrators on the campuses of the UC system should take cuts in their salaries. This type of decision is determined at the University of California systemwide level, so the Berkeley campus cannot act unilaterally at this time. The Regents have already frozen salaries for all senior management group employees.

However, the Berkeley senior administration has taken personal leadership to support the university during this difficult budgetary time. During a recent press conference about the Berkeley budget situation, Chancellor Robert Birgeneau said the following:

"We've encouraged our senior administrators to make substantial personal donations to our undergraduate students from financially disadvantaged backgrounds. The [campus] leadership team has stepped up with an amount that is now approaching $1 million of their salaries that they have committed to donating to need-based financial aid to guarantee access. That includes one of our senior administrators who is actually donating his entire salary; he's fortunately in a life situation where that's possible for him. So people have stepped up in a way that's really quite extraordinary. I believe strongly that this is the most effective way to proceed without seriously damaging our ability to attract outstanding people to Berkeley."

In addition, some members of the Chancellor's cabinet have also decided to participate in the START program, which was recently expanded to allow campus staff to reduce their pay and work hours by 5 to 50 percent.

Further, if a furlough is implemented, all senior administrators, both faculty and staff, will participate. The UC Office of the President is expected to provide the UC campuses with guidance regarding whether furloughs might occur in the coming months.