UCD is currently in the process of grappling with a $5 million mid-year budget deficit that has come about as the result of a decrease of approximately $65 million in state funding to the UC system.
“UC is currently 11,000 students over our state funded enrollment target at a cost of $121.8 million to the campuses,” said Patrick Lenz, UC’s vice president for budget said in an interview with the UC newsroom.
In response to the mid-year budget issues at UC Davis, former provost Barbara Horwitz in January ordered a 3 percent levy on nonfederal, self-supported activities which generated $7 million in revenue, effectively covering the budget deficit and also leaving the university backup funds.
Further cuts in administrative and academic units were necessary to account for these measures.
“It is my hope that these reductions will be the last for 2008-2009,” stated Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Enrique Lavernia in a Feb. 10 letter to the Council of Deans and Vice Chancellors. “But we must continue to aggressively pursue cost reduction and revenue generation strategies to prepare ourselves for more budget reductions in the future.“
The figure represents an increase from last year however, when permanent budget cuts of $17 million were made.
Following this policy and to account for the deficit, Lavernia has mandated one-time cuts in two areas: academic units and administrative and academic support units, with a goal of generating approximately $5.2 million.
The cuts will be based on 2007-2008 figures for travel and entertainment expenses and also general and unrestricted expenditures.
In the area of travel and entertainment expenses, Lavernia has designated a cut of 25 percent, and in the area of general and unrestricted expenditures the designated reduction is .24 percent. Funds do not need to be taken specifically from these areas however, but the total budget cuts to each unit must equal this target amount.
To avoid future one-time budget cuts, UC Davis officials like Lavernia are striving to establish a set system on which to base future budget cuts following a committee structure delineated by Interim Provost Horowitz.
“The scale of financial crisis makes it evident that we will not be able to absorb the anticipated budget reductions without systematic change,” Lavernia wrote in his letter.
The five committees will cover instruction and research, administration, student services, self-supporting activities and capital budget and space planning. These committees will be overseen by a budget advisory committee chaired by the provost and executive vice chancellor.
“[The committees] are charged with considering long-term budget solutions that close our gap between revenues and expense, but protect our highest academic priorities – the things that make UC Davis great,” Lavernia said in an e-mail interview.
Proposals from these committees are expected to be available for broad consultation with the entire campus community during the 2009-2010 fall quarter.
The newly established committees are just beginning to develop focus.
“We’ve only had one meeting so far and it was more to talk about logistics, we’re still developing our primary goals,” said Christine McUmber, staff support on the student services committee.
“We’re planning to meet every other week,” McUmber said. “But we’re still in process of defining student service and the principles by which we evaluate these services.“
The 2009-2010 academic year budget will be handled in a similar manner to the present year, with temporary budget cuts, but officials expect the committee to take effect in the following year.
“The university is resilient,” Lavernia said. “We have endured similar challenges in the past had have come out strong – able to set a national standard for teaching, research and public service.“
CHARLES HINRIKSSON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.