February 6, 2009



A Message to the UC San Diego Community about the Budget Crisis

We are writing to keep you informed about the impact of the shrinking state budget on the UC San Diego campus. We want you to be aware of the efforts underway to manage this crisis in the best interest of our outstanding faculty, students, and staff. We are determined to preserve the extraordinary quality of UC San Diego amidst declining revenues from the state, our endowments, and external sources.

The actions we have taken thus far have primarily responded to budget cuts imposed by the state last summer and anticipated further mid-year reductions, shortfalls related to unfunded enrollments, and escalating costs derived from utilities, deferred maintenance, and unfunded state and federal mandates. Additional budget cuts seem inevitable next year, as well as the first stage of reinstatement of employer contributions to the UC Retirement System.

Every area of the campus whether academic, administrative, or support faces difficult choices implementing these necessary adjustments. In managing these daunting budgetary challenges, our first priority is to maintain the excellence of the campus core academic programs. Academic Affairs, Health Sciences and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography are enduring painful cuts to sustain their essential mission. The Executive Budget Committee, which consists of the Vice Chancellors, Academic Senate faculty members, and student and staff representatives, is providing key input to assist with the identification of broad priorities and principles. We also remain committed to diversifying the campus.

Significant actions taken to date include the following:

On the general campus, we have postponed the equivalent of 48 ladder-rank faculty recruitments. This reduction equates to 52% of the new faculty positions authorized for the most recent three-year period of enrollment growth. We expect that additional postponed recruitments will have to be imposed next year. Though necessary, these actions are especially unfortunate in an era of rising student enrollment. We regret that we also have suspended many academic enrichment programs that supplement the central obligations of teaching and research. By taking these actions we have been able to protect core funding for classroom teaching, TAs, Lecturers and student financial support.

The campus has experienced tremendous expansion in every area over the last ten years. This growth has substantially increased workload for staff and demands on operating budgets. However, the current financial reductions are requiring all Vice Chancellors to trim their operating budgets. Most units are targeting savings in staff salaries, including hiring freezes, and encouraging staff to participate in the START program which allows a voluntary reduction in time and pay described at the following web site:

The Vice Chancellors are also pruning non-salary expenditures to preserve staffing and prevent layoffs wherever possible, and are working toward a significant curtailment of travel, entertainment, equipment, and contract expenses.

Beyond this immediate belt-tightening, we have charged several administrative teams with identifying other strategic cost-saving actions. They are considering non-resident enrollment options, auxiliary and self-supporting activities, and IT infrastructure and support. They are also seeking opportunities to consolidate administrative structures and implement process improvements to further reduce costs.

The dwindling California budget is also causing severe stress on our state-funded capital program. The state recently halted most building projects regardless of the effort already invested. We are actively reviewing all campus projects and exploring options to complete or delay them.

We truly understand the enormous stress and sacrifice confronted by our faculty, students, and staff in this period of budgetary turmoil. Please be assured that we will continue to keep the entire UC San Diego community informed and involved in the difficult decisions that lie ahead.

We welcome your understanding, suggestions, and support and hope that you will join us for a Town Hall on the Budget on Thursday, February 12, in the Student Services Building Multipurpose Room from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. The creative energy of all members of our campus is vital to ensuring the continued excellence of our academic mission. By working together, we can steer our University through this crisis and ensure it will be even stronger in the future.

Marye Anne Fox

Paul W. Drake
Senior Vice Chancellor