Jesse’s Jab: Jerry Brown’s Budget for UC “A Sad Day”

We’ll have a more updated and full analysis of Brown’s Budget for UC a little bit later in the week – according to what the fallout might look like on campus budgets, what Regents will be looking at, and how do the legislative Democrats seem to be responding to the budget.  Brown, however, looks very serious about this budget.  He’s cut his own office, including the Sect. of Education, with a goal of 25%, and even gone so far to cut state-paid cellphones (one half of all current cellphones in use)

But until then, this article by Inside Higher Ed describes the macro implications of the budget cuts and the official response from UCOP.

‘Sad Day For California’

January 11, 2011


A draconian budget plan laid out Monday by California Gov. Jerry Brown would slash higher education along with other already beleaguered state agencies.

In an effort to tackle an estimated $28 billion budget shortfall, the newly elected governor would strip $1.4 billion from public higher education institutions. The reductions would include $500 million each in cuts for the University of California and California State University. Additionally, $400 million would be carved from the budgets of the California Community Colleges.

The reductions constitute an 18 percent cut in state support for California State; 16.4 percent for the University of California; and 6.5 percent for community colleges, officials from the systems reported. [Updated from previous version].

While embracing the need for collective sacrifice, University of California President Mark Yudof said the reductions to the system constituted a “sad day for California.” The proposed reductions, he noted, would mean that collective student contributions to the cost of education would for the first time exceed contributions by the state.

“The crossing of this threshold transcends mere symbolism and should be profoundly disturbing to all Californians,” Yudof said in a released statement.

The $500 million reduction would mean that the state’s annual per-student contribution would fall to $7,210, compared to the $7,930 students now pay at the University of California on average. The student contribution has risen steadily amid the throes of the economic crisis, which has prompted a series of hikes in tuition, dubbed “fees” in California. Yudof said his “sense” was that the university would not implement another tuition increase to deal with the proposed budget reduction, but that he “cannot fully commit” to that course.

The tuition increases have sparked massive student protests, and faculty have questionedwhether the cuts will worsen the quality of what is often regarded as the nation’s premier public university.

Charles B. Reed, chancellor of California State University, suggested Monday that the cuts would limit access.

“We will work with the administration and the legislature to minimize, as much as possible, impact to students. However, the reality is that we will not be able to admit as many students as we had been planning for this fall,” Reed said in a statement.

Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott was similarly foreboding, saying in a statement that the budget reductions would mean “up to 350,000 students will be turned away next year.”

last-minute budget deal in October was designed to restore funding to public higher education in the state, but Brown’s plan would reverse those gains.

In a statement issued Monday, California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office pointed out that the cuts actually restore higher education funding to its traditional place within the state’s budget. Brown’s proposal would provide about $9.8 billion in general fund support for public colleges and universities in 2011-12, which is about 11.6 percent of the total general fund spending. That percentage is about the same as the average share higher education has received over the past decade, the LAO noted. Of course, that average includes several years of significant budget reductions.

In a joint statement Monday, the heads of the three impacted systems — Yudof, Reed and Scott — suggested cuts to the institutions were counterproductive to economic recovery.

“It is clear the governor wants to engage Californians in a full and open discussion about what size of government they are willing to support. As leaders of the state’s three public higher education systems, we are eager to participate in that conversation,” the statement reads. “Given the vast demographic shifts underway in California, now is not the time to shrink public higher education, but to grow it. The road to recovery from this recession and prosperity far beyond it runs straight through our many campuses. These universities are the economic engines of California.”

— Jack Stripling



3 responses to “Jesse’s Jab: Jerry Brown’s Budget for UC “A Sad Day”

  1. UNiversity of California wasteful spending refutes Gov budget. When UC Berkeley announced its elimination of student sports including baseball, men’s, women’s gymnastics, women’s lacrosse teams and its defunding of the national-champion men’s rugby team, the chancellor sighed, “Sorry, but this was necessary!”
    But was it? Yes, the university is in dire financial straits. Yet $3 million was somehow found by Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau to pay the Bain consulting firm to uncover waste, inefficiencies in UC Berkeley (Cal), despite the fact that a prominent East Coast university was accomplishing the same thing without expensive consultants.
    Essentially, the process requires collecting, analyzing information from faculty, staff. Apparently, Cal senior management believe that the faculty, staff of their world-class university lacks the cognitive ability, integrity, energy to identify millions in savings. If consultants are necessary, the reason is clear: the chancellor has lost credibility with the people who provided the information to the consultants. Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau has reigned for eight years, during which time the inefficiencies proliferated to $150 million. Even as Bain’s recommendations are implemented (‘They told me to do it’, Birgeneau), credibility, trust, problems remain.
    Bain is interviewing faculty, staff, senior management and academic senate leaders to identify $150 million in inefficiencies, most of which could have been found internally. One easy-to-identify problem, for example, was wasteful procurement practices such as failing to secure bulk discounts on printers. But Birgeneau apparently has no concept of savings: even in procuring a consulting firm he failed to receive proposals from other firms.

    Students, staff, faculty, California Legislators are the victims of his incompetent decisions. Now that sports teams are feeling the pinch, perhaps the California Alumni, benefactors, donors, will demand to know why Birgeneau is raking in $500,000 a year while abdicating his work responsibilities.

    Let there be light.

    The author, who has 35 years’ consulting experience, has taught at University of California Berkeley, where he was able to observe the culture and the way the senior management operates.
    PS University of California Berkeley (Cal) ranking drops. In 2004, for example, the London-based Times Higher Education ranked Cal the 2nd leading research university in the world, just behind Harvard; in 2009 that ranking had tumbled to 39th place.
    University of California, Berkeley.

  2. I’m a UCSD alumni, class of ’91 and I really feel for today’s students. Our tuition was more like $1200 per year back then (that would be about $2000, adjusted for inflation). Of course, a major part of UCSD was still Quonset huts left over from WWII and we didn’t have a multi-million dollar sports center. The 60’s era dorms that we lived in are still there, though.

    According to UC’s own numbers, 36% of the budget is spent on staff (that is, administration) while 31% of the budget is spent on academic salaries. Isn’t there something wrong with this picture?

    UC has approximately 215,000 students, undergraduate and graduate. Given a $21 billion dollar budget, this works out to over $97,000 dollars per year per student. By UC’s own numbers, however, expenditures per student are $15,820 (2009-2010). What is the rest of the money being spent on?

    98 of the top 100 of the highest paid California state employees are UC employees according to the Sacramento Bee’s numbers ( These are all salaries north of $500K. UCB football coach Jeff Tedford is making $2.3 million dollars a year.

    All of these top earners are either sports related, administration, or med school professors. None of these top earners are teaching undergraduates.

    When I was at UCSD we did not have a football team and, if I remember correctly, we were a Division 3 school for everything else. We were still a world-class university.

    Time for UC to cut the sports budget – not the sports budget for intramurals and sports classes but the big ticket programs. How much does Cal football cost for a losing team? Time to spin out the med schools and hospitals as a separate entity and get back to focusing on undergraduate and graduate education. Time to cut the administrative staff and pensions and focus funds on education.

  3. UC has always been proud of its Nobel Laureates and after getting upset about the salaries paid to the football coaches at UCB and UCLA I started wondering how much the Nobel Laureates at the various campuses are making. They should be the top earners, right? Wrong.

    I made a lengthy analysis here:

    For the tl;dr crowd, UC’s priorities are football and medicine. The only campus that values hard science is UC Santa Barbara and has the most active Nobel Prize winners on faculty. UCSF and UCB are the only campuses where the Nobel Prize winners are in the top 10 earners. UC Berkeley is a joke. Only 2 of the top 10 earners at UCB are professors, and none of them are Nobel Laureates. 3 of the top 10 earners at UCB are football coaches and the athletics director is #5. Med school professors are making twice what all the other professors are making.

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