UC Berkeley is running a $150 million deficit this year and must undertake a top-to-bottom review of expenses if it hopes to sustain its national standing as a premier public institution, Chancellor Nicholas Dirks warned Wednesday.
The university faces difficult decisions as it works to preserve its long-term financial footing, Dirks said. Consolidating academic departments, evaluating spending on athletics, shedding staff and admitting fewer doctoral students are some of the changes that will be considered, he said.
"We are fighting to maintain our excellence against those who might equate 'public' with mediocrity," Dirks wrote in a letter to the campus. "What we are engaged in here is a fundamental defense of the concept of the public university, a concept that we must reinvent in order to preserve."
Inadequate state funding and other factors had created "a substantial and growing structural deficit" at UC Berkeley, Dirks said. To address it, the chancellor said he was initiating a restructuring process aimed at cutting costs, increasing revenue and preserving the strongest programs.
Dirks' letter warned that "even as some of the investments we make will be greeted enthusiastically, we also know that some of the changes we will undergo will be painful."