Headline: UC deals with budget constraint as best as possible
By POOJA DEOPURA
Aggie News Writer
Budget constraints have not deterred the University of California from spending a little extra toward keeping the big office properly staffed and satisfied for the future of their students.
University records show that competitive salaries, in addition to other perks, are being offered to UC officials even in this economy.
The UC system must offer these high salaries in order to hold on to the skilled professionals that can manage a major academic institution, said UC spokesperson Paul Schwartz in a Mar. 25 San Francisco Chronicle article.
The recent hiring of new, qualified staff in this economy is “critical to keeping the university running,“ said Schwartz in an interview with The Aggie.
“We need an administrative staff to support the academic mission, but we also need to replace faculty who are leaving for whatever reason in order to keep providing students with the education that they need and keep our research programs going,” he said.
These pay raises have upset the University Professional and Technical Employees Local 9119, the UC’s primary union of 11,000 staff members, according to the SF Chronicle article. On Tuesday, Mar. 24, they called for a hiring freeze of UC officials earning a salary of more than $200,000.
“We are very outraged,” said Tanya Smith, the union’s local president. “We confronted [UC Berkeley] Chancellor Robert Birgeneau today about it.“
“The chancellor responds that [the new appointments, high salaries and bonuses are] an exception, but we have seen too many exceptions. The exceptions are becoming the rule at UC, and we have had enough,” she said.
In January, in response to the tight fiscal times, UC President Mark G. Yudof and the Board of Regents have placed a “broad pay freeze for existing senior management positions as well as on bonuses and incentive pay for employees making over $100,000,” according to a Mar. 18 UC Office of the President meeting. Employees making under the $100,000 mark however can receive bonuses up to $1,000.
The university recently hired a chief financial officer, “at a salary well below the going rate for CFOs, to ensure strong financial management of the university and help lead the search for additional savings. Another employee was promoted to fulfilling two vice presidential positions at the salary of one, saving the university $320,000,” according to a university budget document.
In addition to granting “promotions” without pay increases, the university is aiming to keep the budget in check by looking for efficiencies across their administrative organizations, according to a Mar. 19 UC press release.
“UC campuses are curtailing faculty recruitment, in many cases by 50 percent or more, reducing hiring of non-teaching staff, severely limiting spending on nonessential costs such as travel, consolidating or eliminating programs, and looking for efficiencies across their administrative organizations – while working to minimize cuts to student programs,” wrote Richard C. Blum, the chair of the UC Board of Regents and Yudof, in a Mar. 26 SF Chronicle article responding to the earlier Chronicle article.
Though budget cuts are being made, low-income students are still being taken into consideration.
“We’re fighting to preserve affordability for students,” Blum and Yudof wrote.
“On our recommendation, the UC Board of Regents adopted a program ensuring that grants will cover system-wide fees for students with financial need and household incomes of less than $60,000 per year,” they wrote. “Financially eligible students whose families earn between $60,000 and $100,000 a year will continue to get grant assistance to cover at least half of any student fee increase, as well.“
POOJA DEOPURA can be reached at email@example.com.