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Budget Cuts Will Mean Significant Sacrifices at UC Riverside

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Chancellor Timothy P. White announced $17 million in budget cuts across the University of California, Riverside on Thursday, saying such actions, and probably $2 million more, are necessary to preserve the core academic function of teaching admitted students.

He said layoffs will be “minimal” and that furloughs will be a last resort. But there will be significant reductions in how much is spent on some programs and in hiring staff and faculty.

For instance, he asked the academic units to withdraw any open offers to prospective ladder-rank faculty. And he said the campus will continue to fill only “mission critical” staff openings.

The action comes in response to significant cuts in the California budget. More than 400 campus employees and students gathered in a meeting room for the announcement, and others on campus watched via Web cast, which is archived on the campus budget site (www.budget.ucr.edu), along with specific percentage reduction percentages for each campus unit.

Cuts range from a low of 2.8 percent for the overall budget of the College of Humanities Arts and Social

Sciences to a high of 15 percent for the Palm Desert Graduate Center, the nonwriting portion of the Vice

Provost for Undergraduate Education and the now redistributed unit of the Vice Chancellor for Administration. A comment period lasts through Friday, June 5.

“The gravity of the situation we are in means it will affect all of us,” he said. “We have to stay together. We have to ask everyone on this campus to do a little more – and I know that we are already running so hard our tongues are hanging out.”

He said it was difficult to tell Anil Deolalikar, a professor who has led the charge on a School of Public Policy, that progress must be stopped for now, in order to save at least $300,000 per year.

“Anil wrote a note back to say, ‘I understand.’” Visibly moved, Chancellor White said that will be the model for how we will pull together as a campus to manage through the economic downturn.

To a question about why staff seemed to be taking a larger share of the budget cuts, White described the campus as a four legged chair, supported by students, faculty, staff, and campus friends.

“All are important,” he said.

Because faculty members are delivering the classes to a student population

that will go up slightly next year, he has to protect that function.

“If we were a hospital, we could not function without doctors. If we were a justice system, we could not operate without judges and attorneys.”

He encouraged supervisors  to allow staff to take advantage of the START program if possible. The UC-wide program allows support staff to voluntarily drop their work hours and pay while keeping

full benefits and credit toward retirement.

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