Mark Yudof's Proposals Will Harm UC

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UC President Mark Yudof recently made three ill-thought out proposals-pay cuts, furloughs, or a combination of the two-for UC employees at all campuses in order to cover a shortfall in funds from the State. UPTE objected to all three proposals. The union joins other UC stakeholders in calling for a transparent account of the UC budget with a full disclosure of all sources of revenue and a listing of all possible cost-saving measures. With this in hand, the UC community can discuss the problems and find compassionate and fair solutions.

Without this information, informed discussions cannot take place and educated decisions cannot be made.

Given the complexity of the issues, and the lack of information provided to stakeholders, only one decision can be made at this juncture-layoff Yudof.

The atmosphere of fear and dread at UC that he has created is shameful.

Despite the absence of innovative problem-solving at the top (and the lack of understanding of the scope and complexity of the consequences of implementing Yudof's proposed changes), others in the campus community have grasped the seriousness of the situation and made humane suggestions for handling the shortfall in state funds.

The financial statements of the university indicate that many options exist for covering this shortfall such as the billions in financial reserves, the fundraising ability of the university, and other sources of UC income. In the 2007-2008 fiscal year UC received $3.13 billion from the state of California. Under the governor's current proposal this would drop to $3.07 billion in 2008-2009 (with the help of federal aid) and to $2.63 billion in 2009-2010. This $500 million decrease represents 2.5 percent of the $20 billion UC budget. At the same time, $7.2 billion exists in the Short Term Investment Pool, a reserve fund separate from endowment and retirement funds.

UC has seen steady increases in gifts and donations, most recently reaching $1.6 billion raised during the 2007-08 year. UC receives revenue streams from Medical Center income (where 2009 profits already exceed those of 2008), federal grants (expected to increase by hundreds of millions at UC in 2009-2010 due to stimulus research funds), contracts, patents and other activities.

I am heartened that the greatest wealth of the UC-its people-has been tapped. The thoughtful responses of union members, faculty, unrepresented staff, alumni and other campus community members have been enlightening and helpful. Through our collective involvement, fair solutions can be found. An online petition opposing the regents giving emergency powers to Yudof and urging greater transparency of UC's budget will soon be accessible through the UPTE CWA website,

http://www.upte.org/

Join us for an Emergency Town Hall on Thursday July 9, 2009 from noon to 1 pm in front of California Hall. Together we can discuss the obstacles and find solutions. Our collective knowledge and actions can and will save UC.

Tags: UPTE, MARK YUDOF


Tanya Smith is Berkeley's UPTE-CWA 9119 president. Reply to [email protected]



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