Welcome to 2010 at UCLA
January 7, 2010
To the Campus Community:
Welcome back! I hope you had a safe and enjoyable break. While we were away, our Bruin football team represented us triumphantly in the EagleBank Bowl in Washington, D.C. The event benefitted the Wounded Warrior Project, which provides programs and services to severely injured service members between their active duty and transition to civilian life. Go Bruins!
As we begin a new calendar year and decade, I’m looking forward to more remarkable achievements of our students, staff and faculty.
But first, I know budget issues are top of mind for us all. I know that you recognize that this is a perilous time for our institution. Tomorrow, Governor Schwarzenegger will release his preliminary budget for next year, and we will begin to assess how it may affect UCLA. UC President Mark Yudof has asked for $913 million in additional funding for the system.
We are pleased that, in his final State of the State address yesterday, the governor said he would propose an amendment to the state Constitution that would shift state funding priorities and guarantee that the UC and California State University receive no less than 10 percent of state general fund revenue. Currently, the two systems receive 7.5 percent, so this would be a major step toward restoring financial stability to UCLA.
Nevertheless, in the short term, we still face critical budget shortfalls, and we are addressing those in a number of critical ways. We are joining with our sister campuses to mount an aggressive statewide advocacy campaign. Advocacy is essential to protecting UCLA. If you have not signed up as an advocate, please do so now at http://www.advocacy.ucla.edu/getinvolved.html.
Through our budget toolbox project, we are looking at new revenue sources and continued cost-cutting measures, along with other creative ways in which we can thrive in the current environment and become more self-sufficient. You can read the toolbox reports at http://evc.ucla.edu/reports/budget-toolbox-reports.
In addition, the UC Commission on the Future continues its work to develop a new long-term vision for the university. Learn more about the commission at http://ucfuture.universityofcalifornia.edu/.
I urge you to educate yourself on the issues that the toolbox project and the commission are addressing to see what role you can play in advancing these critical efforts.
The people of California, who have long depended on UCLA, are now looking to us to steer the state through this difficult period to a better tomorrow. They are expecting us to continue providing world-class education, top-ranked medical care, cutting-edge discoveries and so much more. In early December, I wrote a commentary for Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gene-d-block/so-much-is-at-stake-the-f_b_375966.html) in which I implored our broader community to stand up for UCLA, reminding them of the many ways in which the university improves their lives. Just as they depend on us, we are looking to them to raise their voices on our behalf.
As difficult as the current fiscal challenges are, however, I have every confidence that we will emerge from this time strong and thriving. Excellence is in UCLA’s DNA. The institution has great forward momentum energized by a history of accomplishment.
Consider that our research enterprise is stronger than at any other time in our history. We have now received more than $114 million in stimulus funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. These funds will lead to creation of jobs and new knowledge that will improve the economy and the quality of life for the people of California and the world.
In the fall, three-time UCLA graduate Elinor Ostrom became the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in economics and the first UCLA alumna to win a Nobel. She began her winning research right here as a doctoral student.
We also added our 12th Rhodes Scholar. A 2008 UCLA graduate, Elizaveta Fouksman, will enter Oxford University in October to study international development. And UCLA senior Matthew Clawson, captain of our ski and snowboard team, has been selected to receive a 2010 Marshall Scholarship to study international relations at Oxford. Consistently, Bruins are champions through and through.
We all recognize what UCLA is capable of achieving. The current challenges will not deter us from excellence in the fulfillment of our historic mission. We are a campus of extraordinary students, staff and faculty.
Each of us has a role to play, a job to do on behalf of UCLA. Please speak out to your friends and family and especially our lawmakers about how critical UCLA is to the well-being of California and its people. We must speak with one voice and remind Californians that UCLA belongs to them and must be protected against decisions informed by only short time horizons. The long-term health of our state, indeed the nation, requires robust public research universities.
2010 is going to be challenging, but, with all of us onboard, it will be exciting and rewarding. Throughout the year, I will be in touch with you regarding budget developments and ways in which you can participate in solutions. I continue to be deeply grateful for your hard work, dedication and support.
Happy New Year!
Gene D. Block