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Tough Times Tough Choices
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Q: How deep might the cuts be?
A: We're planning for a number as high as 8 percent. Not with that as an expectation, but recognizing that even if it's a number smaller than that, it probably would not be applied uniformly. Therefore, cuts would have to be greater in some places and less in others. So we're having everybody look at that 8-percent range.

Q: And there is a hiring freeze.
A: Yes, it's a "soft" hiring freeze. For example, it doesn't apply to any positions that are essential for our academic missions, like the faculty, or to those positions necessary to meet our contractual obligations. We don't want to find ourselves unable to hire in areas where we really need people because we have hired people in the areas where we need them less. So the hiring freeze is aimed at helping us to be better prepared if bad things should happen.

Q: How does UCLA plan to maintain its competitiveness in an atmosphere of budgetary uncertainty?
A: The important thing in developing a strategy for how we're going to compete is to keep our eye on the ball. And the ball is people: retaining and recruiting the very best faculty and staff and attracting the very best students. Whenever we make expenditures in any area where we have some flexibility, we should always ask ourselves: How will this contribute to recruiting and retaining the very best people?

In recruiting and retaining the best faculty, salary matters, but it's not the most important thing. Faculty tend to be most concerned about the work environment, support for graduate students in their field and the quality of life for their families. Salaries are important, to be sure, and if we were to fall markedly behind, it would become a major factor. But it is these other areas that generally seem to be first on the list of faculty concerns. In the work environment, for example, they might be concerned about the quality of the library in their field. They might be concerned about laboratory facilities, and how much of an investment can be made to modify and equip laboratories for their use. They want to be sure that they can recruit the best graduate students with whom to work on their research. It turns out we're starting to have some difficulties competing with private universities for graduate students primarily because they are able to offer more attractive financial packages.

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