Campus braces for more cuts

Mid-year budget cuts, recently announced by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, will force UC Santa Cruz to make even more reductions in operations than it already had planned after lawmakers slashed spending for UC in the initial state budget, according to Executive Vice Chancellor David Kliger.

Kliger, speaking at Wednesday's Fall Academic Senate meeting, addressed declining state support for UC and the impact it will have on UCSC.

"This will be the first of many discussions we will have this year on the budget," Kliger said.

Last week, the governor proposed mid-year cuts in the state budget including an additional $65.5 million from UC in the current fiscal year. That would be on top of the $48 million cut to UC included in the final 2008-09 budget. The university also needed to achieve an additional $100 million in savings to cover student enrollment growth and increases in fixed costs not funded by the state.

The state's per-student spending for education at UC, adjusted for inflation and enrollment growth, has fallen nearly 40 percent since 1990, according to UC Office of the President.

In July, Kliger put in place a $4.5 million budget reduction at UCSC.

Now, he said, we "face mid-year cuts that, once adopted by the Legislature and imposed by the governor, will leave us needing to implement further reductions."

The anticipated cuts "mean that we will put at risk not only the quality of our institution, but the basic access to the citizens of California."

Kliger does not yet know the full extent for the campus of the impending mid-year cuts, but said that budget reductions could be significant and last for several years.

His office is doing the following to deal with the anticipated cuts:

  • Talking with vice chancellors, deans, vice provosts, and the Academic Senate about strategies.

  • Exploring every opportunity to further increase efficiencies.

  • Considering deferring actions on new initiatives.

  • Proposing to the Senate that the campus limit the enrollment of new frosh to about 3,500 students--about 400 fewer than in the current year.

  • Considering limiting the recruitment of new faculty to essential hires.

  • Limiting growth in student services, and working with the Student Fee Advisory Committee to consider every possible programmatic efficiency.

  • Looking at every program and/or activity to determine what can be cut.

  • Directing principal officers to implement all reasonable cost-saving measures and to engage their staffs in identifying ways to invest limited resources as efficiently as possible.

UCSC plans to embark on a comprehensive fundraising campaign, said Chancellor George Blumenthal, in his opening remarks to the audience.

The campus needs to bring in new resources to supplement state and federal funds, increase its capacity to do more and better research and educate students, and increase its impact and prestige, he said.

"Financial challenges aside, we must--and will--be guided by our vision to be the leading institution for educating students and a top-ranked research university," said Blumenthal.