With the UC system facing a budget gap of $813 million, UCSB’s financial future is up in the air.
On July 10, UC President Mark G. Yudof proposed pay reductions and furlough days for faculty and staff based on a graduated approach. Pay cuts would range from four to 10 percent, and workers making more money would receive larger salary reductions and more days off. The plan will go before the UC Regents this week, and if approved, would go into effect Sept. 1.
In addition to approved student-fee increases totaling 211 million dollars – which account for about one quarter of the budget deficit – Yudof’s proposals would translate into 184 million dollars in net savings for the UC system. The university also aims to gain $100 million through the refinancing of debt and will make cuts to the tune of $300 million across the 10 campuses.
“There will be real pain on every campus,” Yudof said at a press conference. “There’s no way we’ll be able to look students in the eye and say this will be the same university.”
A July 9 town hall forum at Campbell Hall – headed by Chancellor Henry T. Yang, Director of Human Resources Cynthia Cronk, Executive Vice Chancellor Gene Lucas and geography professor and Academic Senate Chair Joel Michaelsen – offered administrators and the public the opportunity to discuss UCSB’s financial future.
A group of faculty and staff called on Chancellor Yang to represent four demands at the upcoming regents’ meeting: first, that decisions regarding cuts or furloughs should not be made at the July meeting; secondly, that no emergency powers be given to President Yudof; thirdly, that the interests of every constituency of the university be represented and that the UC Office of the President; and finally, that the regents operate a transparent process to defend, not de-fund, the university.
Yang said feedback from 331 staff members and 155 academic employees expressed a preference of furloughs over salary cuts.
“An overwhelming majority suggested furloughs instead of salary reductions,” Yang said.
Yang noted that each UC campus is experiencing a similar response to Yudof’s proposals.
“We’re not the only ones having town forums,” Yang said. “We have ten 10 Chancellors all working together very cohesively. It’s going to be quite a process.”
The UC chancellors will have the opportunity to make their recommendations to the UC Regents at the July 15 to 16 meeting at UCSF Mission Bay before any final decisions on salary reductions and furloughs may be made.
Yang reassured his colleagues that he plans to represent their opinions and interests to the regents.
“Today we are working with this input [from the feedback letters and the town-hall forum],” Yang added. “Your input will be our stand.”
William Warner, former English Dept. chair, said the university cannot stand by idly while jobs are put at risk.
“The university is too compliant,” Warner said. “We were confronted with three choices and no one is thinking out of the box.”
Warner said if salary reductions do become a reality, they must be openly advertised.
“We need to make [salary cuts] ugly, make them visible,” Warner said. “These anti-tax republicans are actually taxing us.”
Warner added that a group of UCSB professors are in the process of organizing protests for Fall Quarter.
“We’re planning a campus-wide, old ’60s style teach-in in the fall where classes will be cancelled,” Warner said. “We need to talk about what lies behind the crisis.”