UC Berkeley Budget Crisis

July 24, 2011

How Berkeley’s share of the $150 million state budget cut compares to campus spending on intercollegiate athletics

Filed under: Intercollegiate Athletics — Brian Barsky @ 6:27 pm

The explanation for why the full amount of the additional $150 million cut in the UC budget from the State had to be borne about by adding 9.6% to more than double the already accepted increase (of 8%) in tuition fees, which I believe will bring tuition to about 75% more than it was in 2008-09 to maintain quality omits a discussion regarding the priorities of spending.  Charlie Schwartz has shown the bloat in the administration, not just in compensation levels, but in number of people.  Since I’ve examined the campus’s spending on Intercollegiate Athletics, I can provide a couple of quick back-of-the envelope calculations to show how Berkeley’s share of the $150 million compares to campus spending on intercollegiate athletics (assuming that Berkeley’s share of UC cut would be at most 1/6 of the total cut).

1.  If the Administration had followed the recommendations of the “Academics First!” resolution passed by an overwhelming majority at a exceptionally well-attended Academic Senate meeting on Nov. 5, 2009 and prioritized academics over intercollegiate athletics and ceased taking money that could have been used for academic purposes to enable intercollegiate athletics to overspend beyond what it generated, the amount of money saved over the last couple of years ($13.7M+$12.1M=$25.8M) would exceed Berkeley’s share of this extra $150M to be collected from UC students from this 9.6% fee increase.

2.  The financial plan for the UC Berkeley’s stadium project approved by the Regents sets forth a commitment of about a billion dollars in combined construction costs and interest payments.  Given the timeline of construction, I estimate that the campus is currently spending roughly five million dollars a week of this borrowed money for this project.  At that rate of construction cost for the stadium complex, the same amount that the Berkeley students will have to pay for one year’s worth of this 9.6% fee increase to cover Berkeley’s share of this extra $150M will be spent on the construction (not included interest charges) in not much more than a month.

Ultimately it just boils down to understanding what is being prioritized.

Brian Barsky

Professor of Computer Science

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