Chancellor responds to Gov. Brown’s budget veto

Dear members of the UC Berkeley community:

As you know, we have been through a tumultuous 24 hours. The legislature passed a budget which would have increased the cut of the UC budget from $500 million to $650 million. Fortunately, this proposed budget has been vetoed by Governor Brown, but the Governor still held out the threat of “deeper and more destructive cuts to schools and public safety” if tax extensions and significant reforms are not approved.

As you know, Berkeley already faces extraordinary challenges for the coming year. Our share of the $500 million cut from the Governor’s proposed budget is about $70 million. On top of the proposed cuts, the campus has additional mandatory increased costs such as utilities and health care benefits for which we must find $40 million. Thus, in effect, we are already facing $110 million in cuts for 2011-12 and we cannot sustain any further cuts without placing an intolerable burden on our students and staff. Specifically, the legislature’s budget would have added as much as $25 million to this shortfall, an amount which would be extremely difficult for us to absorb in such a short period of time. Not only would this be very painful for our campus, it would ultimately be damaging to the economy and future prospects of California.

I know that the Cal community cares deeply about public higher education and understands the importance to the state and to the nation of the education, research and public service that we provide. I want to assure you that we will not compromise on our principles of Access and Excellence. I urge you to join me in telling your local legislators, leaders in the Assembly and Senate, and Governor Brown himself that they must arrive at a budget agreement that does not require further cuts to the University of California.

Information on how to contact the Governor and legislators can be found at
http://alumni.berkeley.edu/services/advocacy

Yours sincerely,

Robert J. Birgeneau,