Letter: Report on UC staffing lacked context

The article you reprinted from an online blogger about administrative staff growth at the University of California (“UC administrative staff tripled in two decades,” Capitol Weekly, April 23) lacks critical context and as such, makes inaccurate comparisons.

The increase in UC’s administrator positions is largely due to significant growth in the university’s health enterprise, which includes our five medical centers. It is also tied in part to research growth, which has a tremendous return-on-investment for students, taxpayers and the state of California. These activities are critical to the university’s mission, involve complex state and federal regulation, and require experienced administrators to operate successfully and efficiently.

Readers should also be made aware of the fact that UC’s health sciences employees and researchers are primarily paid with clinical and research funds, not state funds or tuition revenue. Faculty positions and enrollment growth have not kept up due to reductions in state support – the main source of funding for these critical needs.

Only 3 percent of UC’s 195,000 employees earn more than $200,000 a year, and among those who do, 81 percent are faculty. Most work at our teaching hospitals and are paid with non-state funds. In contrast, UC’s top executives comprise less than 3 percent of top earners, and less than 1 percent of all employees. Their combined earnings equate to less than one quarter of 1 percent of UC’s budget.

The university experienced nearly $1 billion in state cuts during the recession. Today, the state funds UC at the same level as it did in 1999 — even though we now enroll 83,000 more students and have one more campus. This clearly illustrates that UC’s contingency plan to raise tuition is a direct result of insufficient state funding.

Nathan Brostrom, Oakland
Chief Financial Officer
University of California Office of the President

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