From the chancellor

Chancellor George Blumenthal (photo by Paul Schraub)
Dear Friends,

As you read this issue of Review magazine, you’ll see that UC Santa Cruz remains fertile ground for innovation and creativity. The people behind our programs are thought leaders who take the initiative, ask bold questions, and change the world.

I feel great pride reading these articles and seeing every day the vibrancy of our campus. Yet I must acknowledge the budgetary challenges facing the campus this spring. I have real concerns about how we will retain our distinctive programs and nurture this unique ecosystem that encourages people to question, explore, discern, and discover.

We face threats that are unprecedented in the 50-year history of California’s Master Plan for Higher Education. As you likely know, California is wrestling with a $26 billion budget deficit. The best-case scenario for the University of California will be a $500 million cut in the fiscal year that begins July 1; the worst-case would be a cut of $1 billion. This will be the third major cut to the university in the past four years.

If you want to learn more, I encourage you to read our campus’s coverage of a recent UC Regents meeting, during which I discussed the impacts on UC Santa Cruz of the state’s ongoing disinvestment in the university (go to our Budget Update page and see updates from March 16).

These are serious cuts. Our challenge is to implement these budget reductions without sacrificing what matters most: the distinctive experience we offer undergraduates, the top-flight research conducted by extraordinary faculty, and our commitment to access and diversity.

Although I am hopeful that the state of California will overcome its persistent budget problems, I do not expect the state to return to previous levels of investment in the university anytime soon. I believe the only way to maintain quality and access is to take our destiny into our own hands and build a long-term vision for the future based on diminished state support. To that end, faculty and staff are joining campus leaders in an internal campus discussion beginning this spring that will chart our course for the future.

As we begin the five-year countdown to our 50th anniversary, we must work harder than ever to ensure that future generations will have access to what we offer at UC Santa Cruz. We owe it to our founders, our alumni, and our current and future students.