UCLA Today

Chancellor Block addresses scope of budget crisis, plans and priorities

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block sent this letter to the campus community on June 30.
gene blockDear Colleagues,

I know that all of you have been following the increasingly complex and worsening financial situation facing California and its impact on present and future funding for the University of California. The purpose of this letter is to lay out the scope of the current problem and the values and priorities that will guide us in implementing painful cuts to our campus. A draft budget reduction plan is being developed for my review by Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Scott Waugh in consultation with the Academic Senate, vice chancellors, the academic deans and faculty advisory committees.

I would like to state at the outset my commitment to maintaining and enhancing UCLA as one of the greatest institutions of higher education in the world. From its founding 90 years ago, our university has educated some of the most prominent leaders in business, the professions, academics and public service. The research done by our stellar faculty, supported by excellent staff, has reshaped our nation and the world.

The next year will be painful, and, frankly, this crisis will likely be a multi-year problem. But I know we will emerge stronger than ever.

What is the scope of the current problem?

Since the passage of the earlier state budget in February, California’s fiscal picture has declined dramatically, and the May election did not deliver relief. We have been forced to shift from plans to reduce our general funds budget next year by $33 million (about 5% for most units) to a cut of $132 million. For the fiscal year beginning July 1, this represents an approximate 17% reduction in our general funds allocation. I should emphasize that the situation is still fluid, but these are our most current figures.

How do we plan to respond to this unprecedented loss of funding?

First, the campus will receive approximately $15.5 million in additional funds from the approved 10% increase in the Education Fee paid by our students. Of this amount, about half is needed to fund mandatory cost increases for the upcoming year, leaving only $7.5 million to offset state budget cuts.

Second, the 5% reduction in campus expenditures that we had already planned will save $33 million.

Third, the salary reduction/furlough options proposed by the Office of the President will save UCLA approximately $30 million in state funding, if implemented on August 1.

Fourth, while we still have some reserves to temporarily assist with the shortfall, we must implement at least another $40 million in budget cuts to balance our books. Soon after the Regents’ meeting on July 16, we will send further information to our academic units regarding reductions and appoint task forces to advise on targeted cuts. We must take this deep and sobering reduction in a way that maintains our stature as one of the world’s great universities and ensures that UCLA continues to fulfill its public mission.

What must we preserve in order for UCLA to remain UCLA? Our “core” values.

As we consider significant reductions, the following principles and priorities will help guide our decisions. We must: How can we protect these core values, maintain academic excellence and yet drastically reduce our budget?

We must: We still have much to celebrate.

Despite the current fiscal challenges, however, we must never forget how much we have to be proud of at UCLA. In my nearly two years here, I have been amazed by the dedication, ingenuity and professionalism of our faculty and staff. Students often tell me how well they are served both in and out of the classroom. Our faculty consistently win prestigious awards, and our staff likewise deserve special recognition. Our hospital personnel gleam with pride over the seamless move to the new hospital and the high level of patient satisfaction. Our students are impressive in every dimension. Many of our undergraduates represent the first generation in their families to attend college. Bruin athletic teams have won more NCAA titles than those at any other institution.

UCLA clearly is no ordinary place. It is one of the finest institutions of higher education in the world, impacting millions of people through education, research and outreach. Together, we must and we will keep UCLA extraordinary. I deeply appreciate the part each of you is playing as we navigate our way through this unprecedented crisis.

Also see a letter from UC President Mark Yudof updating faculty and staff on options for the proposed furloughs/salary reductions. For comprehensive UC budget information, see budget news and background on the UCLA Newsroom.
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