Blumenthal tells Senate that capital projects are back in state budget

Funds for UCSC's building projects have been added back into the state budget, Acting Chancellor George Blumenthal told the Academic Senate May 30.

Blumenthal also said both houses of the Democratic-majority state legislature added $19 million for University of California academic preparation programs into the budget. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger did not allocate money for the projects in his original budget; his revised budget was released May 15. It is awaiting approval by the Legislature and the governor's signature.

The capital projects--the Biomedical Sciences Facility, McHenry Library expansion, equipment for the planned Digital Arts and New Media Building, and infrastructure improvements--were part of Proposition 1D passed last November. But State Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, and members of the Assembly removed the items from UC's budget, pending assurances that UC campuses would make fair-share contributions to mitigate impacts on local communities.

"Our capital projects will go forward," Blumenthal said in his report to the Senate, adding, "they'll be expensive."

He also reiterated his support for improved child care on campus, another expensive proposition. Blumenthal said that creative reconfigurations have opened up a dozen new spaces for children, but "we really need additional facilities. We're looking on and off campus," he said.

Paul Ortiz, chair of the Senate Committee on Faculty Welfare, urged the administration to work with the Development Office to explore funding ideas.

On the subject of faculty salaries, Blumenthal and Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor David Kliger both said a UC plan would be announced soon to raise salaries 26 percent over the next four years. "We expect an announcement soon," Kliger said.

In Senate business, Stan Woosley, professor of astronomy and astrophysics, was selected to deliver the 2007-08 Faculty Research Lecture. Woosley, who joined UCSC in 1975, is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.