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The faculty and staff in the University of California system are facing a tough budget crisis.  Many are forced to take a pay cut (8% for faculty last I heard) and some staff have been laid off.  I attended a UC for undergrad and one of my grad degrees.  I still get departmental emails.  Recent emails have noted the need for all employees to make "sacrifices" due to the current budget.  OK, times are tough, especially in California.

Then I read this article (SF Gate)::

On the same July day that the UC Board of Regents cut $813 million from UC budgets - setting in motion pay cuts, layoffs and campus cutbacks - the board quietly approved pay raises, stipends and other benefits for more than two dozen executives.

University officials were quick to characterize the increased pay in a positive light.
"It's really a story about cost savings," said Barbara French, a UCSF spokeswoman, adding that three people on her campus who won hefty pay increases took on new duties and deserved to be compensated.

New duties, huh?  I’m sure a poll of staff and faculty at the UC would reveal a lot have also taken on "new duties."  And I’m guessing these execs have delegated some of these new duties down the command chain to folks taking the pay cut.

Here is one reaction:

"These are outrageous actions, taken at the same time as UC has been pleading poverty, giving layoff notices, forcing staff and faculty to take furloughs and hinting at more student fee increases," said library assistant Kathy Renfro, chairwoman of the UC Berkeley Labor Coalition.

This next line of reasoning is pure hypocrisy:

On July 16, the regents also approved requests from other campuses to pay new deans and vice chancellors higher salaries than their predecessors had earned, on grounds that this was needed to attract the brightest leaders. The regents referred to the changes as "re-slotting," rather than as raises.

The true talent of the UC system is the faculty, who are taking at least an 8% pay cut across the board.  Many of this talent are earning less than they might at a private university as well as some other public institutions.  A true "brain drain" will occur when said faculty tires of the continual mismanagement of the Regents and explore their options elsewhere.  

This story has some parallels to the banking crisis.  Top-level executives who have overseen failures are being rewarded regardless of performance.  It seems the rich or connected are never really exposed to the same risk as the rest of us.  I understand that both California and the UC system is in crisis, but I also expect everyone to make sacrifices, especially those at the top who had more power or opportunity to prevent failures.

Originally posted to TheGeneral on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 12:11 PM PDT.


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