“Chop from the top,” the loud cry from students, staff, and faculty all over the University of California system, has been louder now more than ever as one the United States’ most prestigious educational systems suffers tremendously during a failing California and United States’ economy.
This past year University of California officials have met at UC headquarters in Oakland, California to solve system wide economic woes; however, the big picture of their enormous salaries has never appeared on one of their PowerPoint slides as a solution to system wide economic pitfalls. At the University of California Davis, that also seems to reign true as Chancellor Linda Katehi yet again on Thursday September 22nd promoted her confidence in UC Davis’s new strategy to combat economic short comings by increasing nonresident student enrollment.
The University of California Davis is looking forward to adding 5,000 students from outside the state of California in order to take advantage of out of state student’s higher student tuition and fees. As it stands today, California resident students pay $15,123 in tuition and fees; whereas, out of state students are contributing $38,001 in tuition and fees. Without a doubt, this strategy is a simple way to increase campus revenue; however, Chancellor Katehi and UC Davis officials are missing an extremely big chip from the table when considering a solution that includes the entire UC Davis house.
On May 6, 2011, Chancellor Katehi emailed the budget planning for UC Davis during the 2011 – 2012 academic year. In the budget plan released by Katehi, not only was there reference to the increase in enrollment of Non-California resident students, but also countless number of cuts to departments small and large on the 5,300 acre campus in Davis, California. The increase in student enrollment would amount to a university funding increase of $7 million dollars in the first year and up to $10 million dollars “one to two” years afterward – a blind and aggressive act to ultimately allow a gradual increase in revenue.
Also included in the new Katehi budget plan, university departments like Child Care, Conference & Event Services, Design & Construction Management, Catering Services, Safety Services, Fleet Services, and others are facing up to 100% reduction of general fund subsidies. Many of the departments listed above, as well as those who are facing up to 100% reduction in general fund subsidies would grant the university an instant savings in the hundreds of thousands of dollars per department. Included in this plan and at the expense of academic integrity and quality, UC Davis has taken initiatives against the basis of their institution, and has chipped away at academic units funding, resulting in $47,708,000 in total fund reduction over the past three years.
After observing the budget plan’s cuts for small campus departments on campus and academic units, one can imagine the huge cuts to administration. All those poor people seeing big cuts to their salaries and bonuses – not really.
The most disconcerting fact regarding Chancellor Katehi’s budget plan besides the numerous reductions to university wide general funding and decreasing acceptance of California resident students due to the increase of non-California resident students, is that these two budget alterations are being done prior to the proper and fair reduction to administrative personnel’s expensive salaries. Administrative Units and Student Affairs are facing the least amount of cuts while expending the second amount of university funding annually – only second behind Academic Units; the reason the university even exists. For the 2009 – 2010 budget year, Administration and Student Affairs cost UC Davis roughly $614,000,000, quite a bit when comparing this expenditure to Academic Units costing the university $1,945,000,000 – Administrative salaries accumulating close to an even third of what it takes to actually run the sole purpose of the institution.
Students, Staff, and Faculty have protested, but their message has lain upon deaf ears, as Chancellor Katehi and the comfortable administration at UC Davis have yet to give in and contribute to the solution for fiscal dilemmas facing one of America’s gifted universities. Increasing non – resident enrollment and turning down California resident students prior to increasing the reductions of a highly expensive group of high profile individuals is fiscally and socially irresponsible. During the time of need it is imperative that all parties contribute for the most balanced solution. Why eliminate small to medium size departments like Child Care, Conference & Event Services, Safety Services, and not to mention valuable resources to from the academic units (the university’s backbone), as a minority of individuals continue to live luxuriously on their disproportionally large salaries? It’s not hard to see the selfishness of the supposed leaders of such a distinguished institution.
“If you…come up with an appropriate ratio, you cover your expenditure,” says Chancellor Katehi; quite the interesting quote as the ratio of cuts against her salary and her colleagues is barely touched. A new ratio must be developed in regards to the events happening at the University of California Davis, one that reflects an equal share of the load during what has proven to be some of the most difficult times for an educational institution the United States has ever seen.