Illustration by Patrick Yeung.
Illustration by Patrick Yeung.

Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor (EVC) David Kliger released the campus budget reduction plans on April 1 for the 2010-11 fiscal year.

The plans detail how UCSC will distribute cuts of approximately $8.2 million, or 4.5 percent of the university’s overall budget, a cut that is substantially lower than the $19.5 million reductions last year.

“We have tried hard to protect the instruction and research mission of the campus — the reason [students] chose to come to UC Santa Cruz,” said Kliger in an e-mail.

For the third year in a row, the campus has been hit with heavy budget cuts which have resulted in an overall permanent budget reduction of about $32.2 million since 2008-09.

Jerroyd Moore, a student representative on the Academic Senate Committee on Planning and Budget (CPB), said that with the state budget not yet finalized there is no guarantee UCSC’s 2010-11 cuts will be limited to the anticipated $8.2 million.

“The figure is based on the assumption that we will get a certain amount of funding from the state — if we don’t receive that funding we will end up with additional mid-year cuts next year” Moore said.

In determining how to distribute the cuts this year, EVC Kliger began consulting with various campus groups last fall including the Vice Chancellors, University Library, Deans, and the Academic Senate Committee on Planning and Budget (CPB).

“The EVC wanted to get it right this year, and the outcome is there have been big improvements over last year,” said Matt Palm, Commissioner of Academic Affairs.

Early in the budget planning stages, the EVC asked the deans of academic divisions to prepare a plan on how they would handle a cut of 5.5 percent and, in a worst case scenario, 11 percent. Academics, which make up 52 percent of the campus’s budget, received a 3.5 percent cut.

“The EVC considered reduction scenarios submitted by deans in determining the cuts,” said Lori Kletzer Chair of the Academic Senate. “The scenarios were so drastic that the academics received a cut lower than 5.5 percent.”

Kletzer said that while cuts to academics are far lower than last year, the cumulative effect over the past few years is taking toll on the divisions.

“I am relieved that the cuts are smaller than last year — but they are still significant … it is a worry that with students not being able to get into classes it could take longer to graduate,” Keltzer said.

The CPB came out with a series of recommendations in March to inform Kliger’s decisions in all three areas of the campus: academics, academic support and institutional support.

According to the EVC’s Reduction Plans for 2010-11, both parties consider maintaining the campus mission of “instruction, research and service” and satisfying the legal responsibilities of the university as important.

However, Kletzer said that the CPB’s recommendations and the EVC’s cuts reflect different priorities.

Academic support, which accounts for 10 percent of the budget, received a 3.9 percent cut. The key difference between the CPB and the EVC’s decision in academic support was the $180,000 cut to the library, for which the CPB had recommended no cuts.

“The library is the intersection between all academic divisions, undergraduates, graduates, faculty. We all utilize these resources. I am disappointed that Kliger cut the library after student leaders have been fighting tooth and nail to keep it open,” Moore said.

In the past three years the library has received a total of $2.1 million in cuts. The current budget for 2010-11 is about $9.3 million.

Similarly to Moore, Palm disagrees with any further cuts to the library.

“It’s hitting something that is already barebones, it will be another chip out of hours, or collections, or both,” Palm said.

Kliger maintains that there are areas within the library’s budget that can sustain a cut.

“I disagreed that the cut to the library should be zero because I saw places where I believe the library could reduce their budget without doing undue harm to its function,” Kliger said in an e-mail.

The amount cut from University Relations is also controversial.

University Relations is a division of the University with a $5.33 million budget which works closely with the trustees of the UCSC Foundation and the Alumni Council to raise funding. The Senate suggested an 11 percent cut, but the EVC decided on a reduction of 1.1 percent — $60,000, instead.

The EVC held that maintaining the campus’s ability to generate private funding as a “high priority” in determining cuts while the CPB did not.

Palm says that the discussion of campus priorities is especially valuable now as the campus prepares for a transition to the next EVC.

Kliger, who has held the position for five years, will officially step down in June. A committee has been formed to select Kliger’s replacement.

“It is going to help students and deans and the campus community better understand the EVC’s priorities versus some of the faculty’s priorities and student’s priorities” Palm said. “It’s good to start having these conversations now because the next EVC will set the context for the future.”