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UC president outlines revised budget-cutting proposal

July 10, 2009 | 12:19 pm

Most University of California professors and staff would be forced to take between 11 and 26 unpaid furlough days a year -- cutting their paychecks between 4% and 10% -- under a revised budget reduction proposal presented today by UC President Mark G. Yudof.

The UC Board of Regents is scheduled to vote on the plan next week, and approval is thought likely in response to anticipated deep reductions in state funding for higher education. However, agreement by labor unions would be needed for large segments of the university's workforce across its 10 campuses.

The proposed furlough days would increase in seven steps up the pay scale, from those earning less than $40,000 to those above $240,000. That is a major change from a controversial earlier proposal that divided UC employees into just two salary groups, and a retreat from an idea of possibly cutting pay without offering furlough days in exchange.

Faculty leaders said professors would not be allowed to take furlough time on days when they have teaching responsibilities. But between these pay cuts and numerous program reductions expected around UC, students will feel an effect, officials conceded.

"No way are we going to be able to look every student in the eyes and say the University of California is just the way it was yesterday," Yudof said.

He said, however, that UC would not follow the Cal State system in pursuing a second student fee increase in two months. UC in May raised undergraduate fees for next year by 9.3%, or about $662, to about $8,720, not including room, board and other expenses. While he ruled out another fee hike for the fall, Yudof today did not eliminate the possibility for the middle of the school year. "There could be one in January. It depends on how tough things get," he said.

In another change from his earlier plans, Yudof’s proposal would exempt from furloughs and pay cuts those UC professors and staff whose salaries are fully funded by federal or private research grants or other outside revenues. Many of those researchers protested an earlier version that would have included them in the cuts, even though that would not have helped the university financially. UC administrators said they still need to study how to handle employees whose pay is partly funded by outside grants.

-- Larry Gordon