On September 15-17 the UC Regents met and discussed budget concerns related to the pandemic. In the discussion, the UC Office of the President (UCOP) didn’t explicitly say they are bringing a systemwide furlough proposal but did give a number of indications that they are considering it as an option. The good news is that some Regents have concerns about this approach. This means it’s important for staff to voice their concerns about possible furloughs now!
Several staff (with the help of the UCAPN) spoke eloquently about their concerns during the Regents meeting. Here is a video from Executive Assistant 3, Wandralee Lindtzie.
It is critical that staff contact the Regents now! Decisions are being made and each of us can make a difference by voicing our concerns about potential furloughs. Here is a flyer with the information you will need to contact the Regents https://bit.ly/339jzh6
If you don’t have time to send a personal email, you can fill out this template letter that will go to all the Regents LINK TO TEMPLATE LETTER
During the meeting UCOP offered the following information about the state of UC finances that raises real questions about why staff furloughs are needed at all:
- UC’s investment portfolio grew to $140 billion in assets overall, including a $10 billion increase in the past 2 months. This is a 47% increase since 2014.
- The funded ratio for the pension has increased to 80% from 76% since the end of the fiscal year at the end of June.
- The $1.8 billion in the UC Blue and Gold Fund liquidated earlier this year was sent to campus for operational needs/working capital.
- UC CFO Nathan Brostrom acknowledged that the more than $10.2 billion in the Short Term Investment Pool (STIP) can be liquidated for campus cash needs along with their commercial paper (although the latter would have to be repaid) and also acknowledged that UC could borrow additional billions up to their debt capacity in the spring if needed.
- The system has experience gross (not net) losses from unexpected costs and losses of revenues of $2.2 billion since the start of the crisis, with $1.3 billion being on the UC Health side. UCSF Chancellor Hawgood pointed out the UC Health losses are large losses relative to expected revenues pre-pandemic and that he believes all medical centers have reported a positive EBITDA for 2020, essentially meaning they are still profitable despite losses relative to expected revenues.
- UC Merced and Berkeley, as the first 2 campuses to have started classes, have generally good enrollment, but Berkeley did see some losses in continuing non-resident undergrads and first-time nonresident grad students. Will see about other campuses when they start in October.
- Brostrom stated they are evaluating options for refinancing debts to save on interest payments and will have more at the November meeting.