UC Berkeley leaders warned Tuesday of drastic cuts to campus operations, including layoffs and other staffing reductions.
Top administrators said they were trying to avoid cuts that would affect students. But they acknowledged that more classes were likely to be taught by part-time instructors and that some student services could be trimmed.
"There is bound to be a certain impact on all parts of campus, including student services," Provost George Breslauer said. "We can't sugarcoat that."
The campus is facing a budget deficit of as much as $70 million next year, though part of that will be offset by an expected 9.3-percent increase in student fees. Other University of California campuses also are cutting budgets, and university leaders will discuss those measures with the UC Board of Regents next week.
Chancellor Robert Birgeneau called the shortfall unprecedented and said he is worried about the following year as well.
"We certainly anticipate that all public institutions, and most private ones, will be financially challenged through 2011," he said. But "all of the measures we are considering are designed to
maintain our work force at as high a level as possible."
Many of the actions had been previously announced, including a dramatic slowdown in faculty hiring. The university also is pushing older professors to retire, though it is not offering the lucrative retirement incentives that were handed out in past years, and administrators said layoffs were likely.
Although Birgeneau noted that the failing economy is driving a rise in graduate-school applications, a campus faculty leader said in an interview that cuts in graduate-student support could prevent some of those students from attending. Many graduate students rely on wages from teaching undergraduate courses to support their own studies.
"There's less support in a situation where there are more kids applying for graduate school," said Mary Firestone, chairwoman of the UC Berkeley Academic Senate.
The university most likely will be unable to guard against some loss of prestige, Firestone said. But she predicted the luster would return when the economy improved.
"Someday the campus will bounce back," she said. "Berkeley always bounces back. But it's going to be a long haul."
Matt Krupnick covers higher education. Reach him at 925-943-8246 or firstname.lastname@example.org.