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Faculty members at law schools within the University of California system are taking pay cuts of between 4 percent and 10 percent, effective Sept. 1, under a recently approved furlough plan. The University of California’s Board of Regents, responding to the state’s impending funding cuts, approved the cuts on July 16. The unprecedented emergency plan would require faculty and staff to take between 11 and 26 furlough days during the coming school year. The furloughs are designed to partly offset an anticipated $813 million reduction in the system’s share of the state’s general fund for fiscal years 2008-09 and the fiscal year that began on July 1. That would represent a 20 percent decline from fiscal year 2007-08. “For all kinds of reasons, it’s not a morale booster,” said Kevin Johnson, dean of the University of California, Davis School of Law. “But at the same time, it’s not altogether a surprise. We knew something was coming down.” The furloughs and pay cut percentages are gradual and tied to the salaries of the faculty members and staff, which range from $40,000 to $240,000 per year. For instance, a faculty member who makes between $180,001 to $240,000 in annual compensation would be subject to 24 furlough days, or a 9 percent cut in pay. More than 108,000 employees of the UC system will be affected. Faculty members were expected to continue working, notwithstanding the pay cuts, said several deans of UC law schools. “When you’re an academic, for the most part, and for staff for some, it’s part of your life to do the work, and so you would do it if you’re being paid or not being paid,” said Michael Schill, dean of the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law. “So, basically, that’s what’s going to happen.” UCLA has more than 60 law faculty members who will be affected by the furloughs, he said. He doubted the retrenchments would affect faculty recruiting. “We have the resources to hire,” he said. “By the time the faculty come, hopefully it’ll be over.” Another 100 law school staff members will be affected, including library workers, administrators and assistant deans, he said. He predicted that most of the furlough days would be taken during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day — when the campus normally shuts down — and perhaps the week before the holidays. The University of California, Berkeley School of Law already has a hiring freeze in place for staff members, but school officials do not expect layoffs or a reduction in faculty hiring. Sixty-nine law faculty members will be affected. “I wanted to do everything possible to avoid, or at the least minimize, repercussions for our [law] community once details would eventually materialize,” said Berkeley Dean Christopher Edley Jr. in a memo on July 24 to faculty and staff. Edley serves on the newly formed Commission on the Future of UC, which is recommending changes to the university system in light of the budget reductions. “With the support and creative thinking of managers and staff from every quarter of the law school, I believe we have been pretty successful in this effort,” he said. The 17 faculty members at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, which will open next month, will come to work and maintain their teaching schedules, said the school’s dean, Erwin Chemerinsky. Administrators will coordinate staff furloughs to minimize the hit to the fledgling school. Funding for new positions during the coming year remains intact, he said. “Thankfully, the chancellor and provost of the university have recognized that we’re a new school and very fragile, and they have provided us the funds that we need to achieve the goal of being a top law school,” he said. “While we, too, will feel the pain, none of the cuts will interfere with our ability to have the funds to achieve our objective.” At UC Davis, Johnson said that 35 faculty members and 75 staff members would be affected by the pay cuts. He did not anticipate layoffs or hiring freezes for faculty members, although the law school could grow more cautious in its recruiting. “The faculty have been very good in terms of trying to understand the situation that the university and the state is currently in,” he said. “I hope we don’t have to continue this indefinitely, obviously. I hope in the near future furloughs will be eliminated, but at this point we’ll be hanging in there.”

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