04 March 2010

Furloughs 2010-11

As is well known, Pres. Yudof has committed to ending the furlough program this summer. Now, of course, that is a proposition that raises more questions than it answers, and here is why. UCOP must be fully aware that things are not going to be significantly better next year: although the Governor's January budget allows for a somewhat larger appropriation for UC next year than this year, this will be more than offset by the loss of federal stimulus funds. And this is predicated on the very unlikely assumption that the May revise will resemble the January proposal in this respect, which is furthermore conditional upon the federal government's pitching in a few billions here and there.

So UCOP would seem to have two options, neither one of which is good. If they fail to follow through on the commitment, then their credibility is shot to smithereens (even more than it is now). If they do follow through, that raises the obvious question of why furloughs were necessary this year in the first place, and again this exposes a certain level of duplicity. So what gives? Is it possible that our fearless leaders in Oakland have not actually thought this through? 

There is, however, a third option. It all depends on what you mean by "UCOP ending the furloughs." It would appear that (given the heat UCOP is taking on the furloughs) their plan is to pass the buck to the campuses, by imposing a certain savings target, and allowing the campuses to handle this as they see fit.

I would expect some campuses (UCB and UCLA, say) to find enough funds in their budgets to end the furloughs, while other, less endowment-rich campuses, would have no choice but to continue the furloughs.

Just a thought, we'll see what happens. In the meantime, let's see how this March 4 events turn out.


  1. The whole point of furloughs, at UC and other places, was to give time for permanent budget reductions that required waiting for retirements, retooling curricula, and laying off staff. If campuses haven't used the last year to do that, then we can expect widespread layoffs as soon as furloughs end.

  2. Absolutely. There is no reason to believe the UC will be in any better financial shape this coming academic year as compared to last year. If we assume furloughs end this next year, then the university will have to come up with the money from SOMEWHERE. That SOMEWHERE will be through massive layoffs throughout the system. It's the elephant in the room no one wants to acknowledge.