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Friday, October 22, 2021

Editorial: UCOP budget

The UC Office of the President and other centralized UC offices are cutting their budgets next year by roughly 17 percent, or $50 million.

UC is expecting a budget shortfall of just over $850 million, so the cut is a great gesture to the UC community – everyone is suffering. However, there’s no way to tell how this will impact the university.

The goal is to ease inevitable reductions at individual campuses next year, UC President Mark Yudof said at the March 16 UC Board of Regents meeting. Furthermore, campuses will be granted more flexibility in spending, cutting and raising funds.

Currently, campuses collect their own revenue and transfer it to UCOP. UCOP then makes decisions about what the funds should be used for, and redistributes it. In the new approach, likely to start July 1, funds generated at each campus will stay at each campus. Campuses will pay a tax to UCOP for some central services.

Kelly Ratliff, associate vice chancellor for Budget Resource and Management, said today’s process is not consistent and the new one will be simpler and clearer. Although it doesn’t necessarily mean campuses will be seeing more money, the new freedom could be great for UC Davis.

In theory, this means that UC Davis can develop without UCOP’s control.

But a budget cut is still a budget cut, and UCOP’s decrease in spending by $50 million will be felt on campus. That cut means certain services will no longer be provided. Jobs will likely be shifted onto UC Davis’ personnel or simply not be done any longer.

UCOP and campus officials are reviewing all centrally-supported programs, looking to develop energy saving programs, shared libraries and technology systems to reduce personnel effort. Unfortunately, officials are also considering higher student-faculty ratios and reduced graduate student enrollment as a result of the $50 million cut.

The university could certainly be more efficient and, of course, the cuts must be made somewhere. However, cuts that diminish the quality of a UC education cannot continue.

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