Even as they mobilize advocacy efforts to blunt state budget cuts, university leaders are quickly planning how to absorb them.

UCR’s share of the UC system’s $500 million governor’s proposed budget cut will be about $37 million, but with increases in pension contributions, negotiated raises and the rising cost of such things as health care and energy, the campus will need to plan for a $50 million shortfall. The reductions could be deeper if voters in June reject continuing some current taxes.

“This will be painful,” Chancellor Timothy P. White wrote in his Friday Letter last week, predicting that even the regents’ desire to avoid additional tuition increases will be revisited.

While exact UCR impacts are not yet determined, White said earlier that we “have done lipectomies (removal of fat) and ostectomies (excision of bone) and are now forced to engage in myectomies (excision of muscle).“

Calling it a “sad threshold to cross,” UC President Mark G. Yudof told the regents last week that for the first time, tuition paid by students and their families will exceed the state contribution to UC.

“The moment is fast approaching when the university no longer will be able to guarantee admission to a UC campus to all California residents who meet the eligibility criteria,” said Yudof.

That, he added, “would mark a bleak milestone.”

Patrick Lenz, vice president for budget and capital resources, told the regents the cuts, which amount to a 16.4 percent reduction from this year’s budget, equal the equivalent of total state support for the UCLA campus or the combined state support for the San Francisco, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz campuses, or one-third of core-funded academic salaries or nearly 80 percent of student services funding.

He said it would only fill $100 million of the gap to lay off 1,000 employees, defer 775 faculty hires indefinitely, reduce UC fee-funded financial aid by 12 percent, reduce enrollment by 10,000 California residents, replace 4,400 California resident students with nonresidents, eliminate research and public service earmarks and augmentations, increase student fees another 6.25 percent and restructure debt service.

Regent Bruce Varner of Riverside said that after conversations with legislators and other leaders, he is convinced that they don’t really understand the value of UC.

“We need to focus on the economic impact of the university. We create an enormous economic return for the state,” said Varner.

Lenz said an economic impact study is under way, updating one done in 2003.
Regents called the cuts, disappointing, scary, tragic and dramatic.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, said the university “shouldn’t let the governor and Legislature off the hook so easily.”

“We should not roll over,” he said to his fellow regents.

Regents Russ Gould and Monica Lozano promised a dogfight in the capitol against the cuts and UC officials described continuing systemwide and campus-based mobilization efforts of alumni and other supporters through advertising, e-mail blasts and capitol visits.

Regent George Marcus urged creation of a Save UC Fund to which he offered to contribute $100,000, the amount he saved because his son attended UC instead of one of the private universities his daughters did. He suggested that UC alumni be asked to contribute $1,000 each.

Yudof said he believes the proposed cuts “are coming our way and that we must act swiftly and responsibly to prepare for them.”

Proposed UCR cuts and their impacts were due from UCR’s deans and vice chancellors last Friday. Each chancellor must submit to UCOP a campus’ preliminary budget estimate by Jan. 31. Yudof will discuss the budgets with each of the campus’ leaders in February and the regents plan to discuss the overall UC budget at their March 1 meeting.

Earlier this month Chancellor White appointed a 10-member Chancellor’s Budget Advisory Council chaired by Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Dallas Rabenstein. Vice Chancellor for Research Charles Louis is vice chair.

The other members are: Mary Gauvain, Academic Senate chair; Peter Chung, chair of the Senate Planning and Budget Committee; Vice Chancellor for Finance and Business Operations Gretchen Bolar; faculty members Mike Allen, Jay Farrell, John Turner and Melanie Sperling and Millie Garrison, executive assistant dean and chief financial and administrative officer for the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences.

“The council will provide advice and recommendations with an eye toward excellent quality, the common good, strategic advancement and transparency,” White said in the message to the campus.