Chancellor Warns of Hiring Freeze, Program and Wage Cuts for UCB

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday June 18, 2009 - 07:28:00 PM

Calling the current budget crisis “the most difficult financial situation that we have ever encountered in our university careers,” University of California Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost George Breslauer said this week in a general letter addressed to the campus community that the university is facing severe program and personnel cutbacks for the 2009-10 academic year. 

With a $100 million projected shortfall for the upcoming year, the possible loss of the $47 million Cal Grants program proposed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and additional budget-cutting measures still being considered by the state Legislature, Birgenau and Breslauer say the university is looking at a 20 percent campus-wide average of budget cuts, considerably higher than the previously anticipated 8 percent in cuts. Some of those cuts may be spread out over a two-year period. 

Writing that “we will need to reduce our workforce significantly and this will be painful and difficult,” the two UC Berkeley officials said the campus is currently considering a package of program cuts, wage cuts to average 8 percent, and a hiring freeze. 

“These cuts will not be uniform ‘across-the-board,’” Birgenau and Breslauer wrote, adding that “units that are core to the teaching and research missions will be given somewhat lesser cuts than the others, and, within the teaching-and-research realms, units with higher capacity will be asked to take larger cuts than those with lower capacity.” 

The two officials said that campus unit leaders would work over the summer to hammer out the details of the cuts.