Thursday, February 22


Effects of budget raised at meeting

Job security for staff at UCLA and the effect of the statewide
budget deficit were the two major issues of concern at the annual
Chancellor’s Town Hall Meeting on Friday.

Sponsored by the UCLA Staff Assembly, the meeting specifically
covered Gov. Gray Davis’ tentative state budget and the
effect it would have on staff, faculty and students.

Chancellor Albert Carnesale attributed the current budget
deficit to California’s dependence on capital gains and stock
option income, which comprise 26 percent of state revenue.

“Increased spending commitments for schools and other
programs, and the use of borrowing and other one-time
solutions” helped contribute to the current budget situation,
Carnesale said.

Carnesale listed the Westwood Replacement Hospital and the newly
constructed California NanoSystems Institute as examples of those
built using borrowed money.

There is a gap between projected revenues and expenditures over
the next two years estimated at $26 billion-$35 billion across
California.

The governor’s budget proposal’s impact on the
University of California system as a whole will result in a $373
million fund reduction for the 2003-2004 school year.

This year, state funding for the UC was reduced by $74 million,
but was offset by increased student fees.

Student services, outreach, research and institutional budgets
will be affected, but instruction budgets will remain
untouched.

UCLA students can expect a $1200 increase in fees for the
2003-2004 school year while some student services will be
reduced.

Student health, intercollegiate athletics and student activity
programs will be cut by 20 percent.

Core student services, however, such as admission and financial
aid will be protected.

The governor’s proposed budget would not provide new funds
for anticipated increases in health cost benefits for the UC staff.
There is also no consideration for an early retirement program.

To help offset layoffs, the UC Coalition of Unions is organizing
a voluntary Temporary Reduction in Pay or Time program. This would
allow departments to save money but not take away from staff
retirement funds.

The university will also help to minimize layoffs by continuing
the hiring freeze announced in October 2001.

“We’re certainly suffering less pain than any other
public institutions,” Carnesale said.

Though the budget deficit and job security were the dominant
issues at the meeting, the potential war in Iraq was also an issue
of concern.

In the open question-and-answer portion of the meeting, Marsha
Coutin, an employee for Campus Human Resources, asked how would the
potential war with Iraq impact the university.

Carnesale replied, “There would be an increased likelihood
for large-scale demonstrations and an increased threat (to the
university).”

“The university has an enormous head start from earthquake
preparation.”

Carnesale also cited the university’s alternative power
sources in case of a power outage and established evacuation
plans.

After the meeting, Coutin said, “I felt comforted that
there are processes in place and that we’re
prepared.”

Additional information concerning UCLA and the state budget can
be found at www.ucla.edu/budget.

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