UC Berkeley to slash 500 jobs

About 500 employees of the University of California at Berkeley are expected to lose their jobs during the next two years, a memo Tuesday from Chancellor Nicholas Dirks said.

All the 500 jobs lost will be administrative positions and none will be faculty positions, according to UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof.

But the memo did say that deans are undertaking an academic realignment assessment as part of long-term strategic planning.

The planned cuts are meant to help balance the university’s budget by the 2019-20 fiscal year.

Mogulof said 60 positions will be cut before the end of this fiscal year. The university employs about 8,500 people in non-faculty roles.

The university is almost always cutting jobs, Mogulof said.

“It is a fluid workplace,” he said. “Projects end, new ones begin and programs restructure.” Dirks’ memo said that some job cuts will occur through normal attrition and leaving jobs unfilled.

The university is also taking other steps to balance the budget, which consist of increasing donations to the university and lowering the interest rate on debts, among other things.

Spokesman Todd Stenhouse of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299, which represents about 1,000 university non-faculty employees, said it’s not clear whether any of the union’s members will lose their jobs because he’s not sure how university officials are defining administrative positions.

But he challenged university officials to consider what he said was a growth in the number of highly paid executive positions and a reduction of jobs among lower-paid employees, such as security guards and custodians.

“What is the priority at UC?” he said.

UC Berkeley is the flagship school of the University of California system.

“It’s success, it’s financial sustainability is vital,” Stenhouse said.

Skyrocketing administrative compensation is diverting resources from UC’s core mission, he said.

But in the memo Dirks said to deliver on that mission, “Our spending, investing and revenue-producing decisions must be driven by a detailed vision for who we want and need to be as a University ten, twenty, even thirty years from now.” Mogulof said, “The important news here (in the Chancellor’s memo) is that we have made significant progress in addressing our deficits and building a strong, sustainable foundation for the university.”