Faculty, staff protest budget cuts outside town hall meeting
June 24, 2009 6:05 p.m.
Thousands of UCLA faculty and staff gathered today for a town hall meeting on the impact of the impending university budget cuts, with dozens of other UCLA employees protesting the budget cuts outside the meeting in Pauley Pavilion.
Chancellor Gene Block, Steve Olsen, the vice chancellor of finance, budget and capital programs, and Lubbe Levin, the associate vice chancellor for campus human resources, answered questions from an impassioned audience, which met some responses with a combination of hollers and boos.
The three administrators emphasized that their options on how to implement instructions from UC President Mark Yudof and the UC Board of Regents regarding the proposed UC system-wide 8 percent faculty pay cut may be limited.
“I can’t say for certain that local variations will be allowed,” Olsen said.
Meanwhile, outside of the meeting, more than 30 staff protesters from the University Council-American Federation of Teachers, a union representing various UCLA employees, raised signs that stated “Chop At the Top!” and advocated other solutions to the budgetary crisis.
Bob Samuels, the president of the University Council-AFT and a lecturer in the Writing Programs, said that senior administrators should take a steeper pay cut and that funds from other departments, which administrators said were restricted, should be directed to the parts of campus hit hardest.
“The UC uses a false definition of restricted funds to push its priorities,” Samuels said. “They could easily move that money around if they wanted to.”
Other faculty protesters left the town hall unimpressed.
“They were stiffing us today,” said Karl Lisovsky, a lecturer in the Writing Programs. “All of the questions got pretty much the same answer. My sense is that they’re going to do exactly what they plan on doing.”