The Student Union Assembly put together a budget forum informational meeting followed by a Q&A session led by Alison Galloway regarding the effects of budget cuts after this month’s revision. Photo by Nallely Ruiz

At the Student Budget Forum with executive vice chancellor Alison Galloway, it was announced that UC Santa Cruz’s budget for the 2012-13 school year will have to stand up to some serious slashing.

Galloway said the most optimistic number for the amount expected to be slashed from the budget is approximately $4.5 million if Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed tax initiatives are passed this fall. If Brown’s tax initiatives fail, the state is expected to cut approximately $250 million from the UC system budget, and cuts to the UCSC campus are estimated to run from $18–20 million.

Students asked Galloway a variety of questions regarding where and how the budget cuts would be enacted.

“This year, we’re planning our budget around an $8 million cut,” Galloway said. “Money comes in two flavors. There’s permanent money we depend on every year, that we use to pay faculty, give professors tenure, and more. Then we have one-time money. One-time is money we can use back and forth. Typically we have some one time money that we use where we need to. This coming year, we’re planning on taking an $8 million cut out of one-time money.”

When asked about the faculty’s part in deciding what would be cut in collaboration with the administration, Galloway said the dean would first work with department chairs to determine how the one-time money will be spent in addition to planning for permanent cuts in July 2013.

“Then I get the plan, the Academic Senate gets them, and there’s a back and forth,” Galloway said. “For the 2013 budget, it’s going to be a longer process, because the cuts will be much harder to do.”

Chad Oliver, a first-year environmental studies major, asked whether the administration had given any thought to working with students in order to push for more support from the state on the forum’s Facebook page, which was set up so students who couldn’t attend the meeting could voice their concerns to Galloway.

“In the discretionary budget, there is education, health and human services, and the prison system,” she said. “There’s a lot of political pressure to keep the prison system going at the current rate, which tends to pit health and human services against education.”

Galloway also said legislators, like the UC schools, have been met with difficult decisions regarding cuts as well.

“To give the legislators credit, they’re facing some tough choices themselves,” Galloway said. “[Legislators] have to go into one room and listen to educators and their supporters, and then go into the next room where someone is saying if you cut this, I’m only allowed three trips to the dialysis machine in a year and I’m going to die. That’s the kind of pressure they’re dealing with. The concern for us is that if you’re not funding higher education, then you’re not investing in the future of California.”

Student Union Assembly commissioner of academic affairs Jessica Greenstreet said she was concerned about the role that the UC Office of the President (UCOP) plays in taking money out of the campus budget and putting it into their own budget.

“UCOP is projecting a $60 million cut,” Galloway said, “which sounds good, but then they are taking $75 million for special projects on different campuses, so they’re really increasing their budget by $15 million. When we talk to the Office of the President, we say, ‘Well, we can’t cut that — that’s a good program.’ We’re even beyond that now, as we have cut many good programs. We have cut many things that are really good for our faculty, for our students and our staff. But they don’t feel the level of pain that we do.”

Greenstreet also asked if Galloway had any plans to work with UCOP in order to reduce the amount of funds taken from university budgets.

“One of the reasons that we are trying to bring people [from UCOP] down to the campuses is so that they can see the severity of the cuts,” Galloway said. “I would love to show them the Quarry Amphitheater, and tell them we would love to have the money to fix this place up, so it can be a venue again. But we have to fundraise to do that. It’s just not in our budget.”

With the state contribution getting smaller each year, she said, the cuts will keep coming.

“We don’t have anything left to cut,” Galloway said. “There are few things we could cut and still maintain a future for the campus.”