Message from George Breslauer, EVCP
To: Deans and Chairs
Re: UC Berkeley’s State Budget Advocacy Strategies
The purpose of this lengthy memorandum is to familiarize you with the campus’s and the Office of the President’s advocacy efforts on behalf of State of California reinvestment in the UC system. The memo also indicates ways in which you can assist with these efforts.
We would appreciate your sharing this letter with the faculty and staff in your unit.
Now, more than ever, it is critical that the University brings together all the people who consider themselves part of the Cal family—our students, parents, alumni, faculty, staff, donors and community partners—to remind policy makers of the important role that UC Berkeley plays in their lives, and of the significant contributions the University makes every day to the communities in which we live and work. These influential individuals can provide powerful voices to our elected officials, and must be engaged as effective advocates on our behalf.
Legislators at all levels of government are important for us to cultivate, particularly during these difficult economic times. As competition for federal research funding increases, champions of higher education leave public office due to term limits, and local governments engage us in more partnerships each year, effective communication between the university and all levels of government has never been more important.
I. WHAT WE HAVE BEEN DOING
Throughout the 2009-10 State budget process, UC Berkeley and the UC system have been working with members of the University of California community to convey to the Legislature, the governor, and the public the budget needs and public contributions of the University of California. Below is a sampling of some activities in which UC Berkeley has participated or supported:
UC has been providing informational updates to a network of e-advocates – alumni and friends of UC – who sign up as part of the UC for California Network to stay informed about UC policy priorities and then have the opportunity to email elected representatives in Sacramento about those issues.
After one such activation of UC’s e-advocates, more than 18,000 emails were sent to the governor and legislators supporting UC’s budget priorities.
UC Berkeley has engaged large audiences through broad-based, grassroots efforts using our E-advocacy tool—the Cal Advocacy website. This website is managed by the Cal Alumni Association, which is a separate 501 (c) 3 organization. More than 7,000 alumni have signed up to be advocates through this website; we will continue to reach out to the approximately 450,000 Cal alumni that we would like activate in support of our budget message. To get involved, visit:
UC Day in Sacramento
During UC Day 2009, more than 300 alumni and friends visited Sacramento to meet personally with their own Senator and Assemblymember, and made the case for strong funding of public higher education.
President Yudof met with the governor and legislative leadership on the budget and testified before the legislative budget committees in Sacramento.
Chancellor Birgeneau, chancellors from other UC campuses, and UC Regents have traveled to Sacramento to meet with legislators and discuss the funding challenges facing the UC system and describe the impacts of the cuts.
UC Berkeley’s Office of Government & Community Relations has facilitated numerous budget advocacy meetings throughout the year, including meetings among UC Berkeley faculty, students, alumni, and staff with state legislators and key legislative staff, both in legislative district offices and in Sacramento.
The Academic Senate leaders for UC, CSU, and the California Community Colleges met with legislators to advocate for support for public higher education.
UC met with legislators to advocate for full funding for the Cal Grant program. UC produced Cal Grant fliers showing the number of students in each legislator’s district, in all of higher education, who would be impacted by the governor’s proposed cut to Cal Grants.
President Yudof and Chancellor Birgeneau travelled to Washington, D.C. to meet with federal officials and initiate a national discussion about the appropriate federal role in funding higher education
President Yudof and Chancellor Birgeneau have held editorial board meetings and provided press briefings on the budget situation.
UC has placed many opinion pieces related to UC funding in a broad range of newspapers, including op-eds by Regents Blum and Gould and President Yudof.
UC Berkeley Public Affairs has placed op-eds by Chancellor Birgeneau in many newspapers and provided contextual information for numerous national writers concerning the budget crisis.
President Yudof has developed a social media presence on Facebook and Twitter to extend the UC message to more constituencies.
The UC Office of the President and UC Berkeley have both produced budget news web sites to provide timely information to employees, faculty, and advocates. See
A variety of UC supporters have made trips to Sacramento to meet face-to-face with legislators or held lobby days of their own to make the UC funding case. These individuals and organizations include:
UC President’s Board on Science and Innovation
Los Angeles corporate leaders
The chair and vice chair of the Academic Senate
Staff Advisors to the Board of Regents
Student Regent Jesse Bernal
UC Student Association
High school/community college students supporting academic prep programs
Silicon Valley Leadership Group
Regents Blum, Gould, and Lansing, along with President Yudof, sent an email letter to 1 million UC alumni, asking them to participate in a letter-writing campaign to build legislative support for UC and encouraging them to participate in future advocacy.
President Yudof sent a letter to Academic Senate faculty outlining the urgency of the State budget situation and providing information for faculty to contact their elected representatives.
President Yudof has issued a series of videos and written communications to employees to keep them apprised of budget developments.
Chancellors have held campus town halls and developed a variety of other mechanisms for keeping campus constituencies informed.
President Yudof has worked with a variety of trade groups and associations statewide to build understanding in the business and healthcare communities about UC’s impacts on California’s economy and quality of life.
President Yudof also has joined leaders of the CSU and community college systems at public policy forums linking economic competitiveness to the contributions of higher education, including at recent summits sponsored by the Public Policy Institute of California and the Lumina Foundation.
II. KEY MESSAGES
The following are key messages that the University is communicating during fall district office visits with every legislator that represents a UC campus:
· We are here because we are concerned about declining funding for the University of California and what it means for the state as a whole.
· It is clear to us that California’s development as a place of opportunity and leadership, and its rise as an economic power, has been largely tied to the people and ideas that have come from its public higher education system.
· It’s also clear to us that UC is not a luxury and not a cost, but the best investment California can make – especially now, when human capital is increasingly critical for every society to compete economically and thrive.
· The precipitous decline in investment in UC that is occurring now threatens the state itself. The cuts threaten opportunity for students, especially those in California’s lower and middle classes. The cuts also threaten the teaching and research mission that creates new knowledge and new jobs for California.
· An educated society and a wellspring of innovative research are essential to the long-term social and fiscal health of California, and the University of California plays an essential role in ensuring both.
What we are asking from our legislators
· We need to make progress toward returning UC to a State funding level at least as high as what was provided in 2007-08, before the onset of the current fiscal crisis. That amount is $3.2 billion in funding, compared to the current level of less than $2.6 billion.
· For the immediate 2010-11 budget process, we are asking that:
o $637.1 million in funding that was cut from UC’s 2009-10 budget be restored; $305 million of this is one-time funding that the budget agreement adopted in July 2009 called for restoring in the 2010-11 budget. Funds would be used to reinvest in academic excellence, hiring faculty, restoring class offerings, expanding service hours to prior levels, and restoring academic support budgets;
o A long-term commitment is made to provide the State’s share of the employer contribution to the UC retirement program – beginning with $95.7 million in 2010-11 – just as the State does for all other State employees including faculty and staff in the CSU system. In addition, provide funds for costs related to annuitant health benefits ($14.1 million), consistent with past practice;
o Enrollment funding totaling $155.8 million is provided to support 14,000 FTE students who have entered the University in the last several years with no State funds provided;
o Support is given for a new four-year general obligation bond for higher education and K-12 that provides at least $450 million per year for the general campuses and another $100 million per year for health sciences;
o Cal Grant awards are maintained to cover fee increases for eligible students. This is of critical importance, given UC’s long-standing commitment to extending opportunity to low-income California families.
What the University is doing in response to budget cuts
· Within the University, deep budget cuts have hit the bone at all campuses and at the Office of the President (OP). The systemwide furlough program will produce $184 million in cost reductions for 2009-10. Enhanced purchasing efficiencies will generate more than $64 million in savings this year. An energy savings program will lower costs by $36 million over three years. Travel has been reduced, faculty recruitments have been slashed, bonus and incentive programs have been canceled or terminated, and the staff merit program has been suspended the last two years. Staffing at OP has been reduced by more than 600 positions (a 30 percent reduction), and its budget has been reduced by $62 million (a 17.5 percent reduction).
· Campuses are making painful cuts in addition to those outlined above. While the priority was to identify savings opportunities and reduce administrative functions, where possible, in order to provide maximum protection to the academic core, it is clear that cutting administration alone will not close the gap. Thus, some academic units on UC campuses have been forced to adopt permanent reductions: general fund support for research centers and clinical services have been reduced; entry level programs in fields such as medicine, health and teaching have been cut back; at all campuses, large numbers of lay-offs have become necessary; and there are freezes or near freezes on faculty hiring at most UC locations. In addition, various capital projects on our campuses have been shelved indefinitely or delayed until additional resources can be found. UC does not believe this trend can be sustained for very long before the quality of UC’s education and research missions are irreparably harmed.
· UC also has proposed undergraduate fees be increased by 15% mid-year during 2009-10 and an additional 15% in 2010-11. This painful step is necessary in order to stabilize the University’s overall fiscal condition, and is a direct result of the shortfall created by State funding reductions. Revenue from the fee increases will support vital UC budget priorities such as student access, faculty hiring, course availability, and student services programs. Fewer layoffs and program eliminations or consolidations will be necessary as a result, and UC will maintain its historic commitment to dedicating one-third of revenues raised through student fees to student aid.
· UC is cutting now to the bone, to the point where the University’s ability to continue in its historic role as California’s leading economic catalyst is at risk. World-class faculty, a diverse and driven student body, well-equipped campuses and research facilities: weaken or remove any one of these pillars and the University begins a certain slide into mediocrity. That would be nothing short of disaster for California. We ask that state legislators and the governor invest in a brighter future for our people.