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A message from Chancellor Berdahl on the state budget

To Students and Colleagues in the Campus Community,

I am sure you have all read with concern about Governor Schwarzenegger's 2004-05 state budget proposal, which recommends $372 million in new cuts for the University of California. Whatever the final numbers are when the Legislature passes a state budget next summer, there is no question that there will be cuts that are painful for all of us - for students counting on a high-quality and affordable UC education and for the faculty and staff who are so dedicated to delivering it.

The Governor's proposals are the start of a six-month process to develop the state's budget for next year. As the Legislature scrutinizes these recommendations in the coming months, we plan to be engaged every day in fighting to preserve, first and above all, the quality of the University of California, and also affordability and access for California's students.

It's too early to be able to measure all of the budget proposal's consequences, both explicit and unintended. We have been asked to reduce freshman enrollment, raise student fees (with a particularly heavy burden on graduate students), scale back financial aid, reduce spending on faculty, eliminate K-12 outreach, and make deeper cuts to research, administration, and other programs. These proposals cut at our deepest-held values in higher education. We are working now with the UC system to formulate our responses.

In the past week I have had encouraging conversations with state legislators who support UC and believe that it is being asked to pay too big a price in easing the state's budget problems under the current proposals. I have also talked with students who are eager to speak out to safeguard UC's quality, in addition to voicing their strongly held concerns about affordability and access. And, of course, I speak daily with faculty, staff, and alumni who are committed to this university and the value it brings to California.

We have a powerful message in support of UC, even in these dire financial times. Together, we are a strong team to deliver that message. And, together, we'll be making an all-out effort this spring to bring about fair and workable solutions too the university's funding problems.

As we know more, look to the UC Berkeley NewsCenter for up-to-date information.

Robert M. Berdahl