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College lecturers get one-year advance notice of possible layoffs

A letter notifying 67 lecturers in the College of Letters and Science that they may be laid off a year from now was sent Wednesday, July 29, by the deans of the divisions of Physical Sciences, the Social Sciences and the Humanities.

Notices went out to two lecturers in the physical sciences, 16 in social sciences and 49 in the humanities in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding for Non-Senate Faculty in order to provide the required one-year notice should a layoff be deemed necessary because of the budget situation. The effective date would be August 1, 2010. Lecturers' teaching duties would end as of June 30, 2010. The lecturers are represented by the American Federation of Teachers.

Campus leaders said the layoff notices did not reflect on the lecturers' contributions to UCLA as teachers and scholars. But the action became necessary because no one can predict how the overall teaching budget for the College will be impacted if the cuts continue or worsen.

The letter was the latest sign of the dramatic drop in state funding for UCLA, which is facing approximately $95 million to $100 million in long-term or permanent cuts as a result of the worsening state budget crisis. To cope with these severe cuts, campus leaders are implementing staff and faculty furloughs beginning Sept. 1, drastically reducing faculty searches and hiring, and leaving job vacancies open. Some staff have already been laid off. Chancellor Gene Block has warned that the cuts will have serious consequences, including more crowded classrooms and fewer classes.

"We are facing difficult and painful choices because of the worsening state budget crisis," said Dean of Humanities Tim Stowell. "We have already been forced to cut our budget by well over 5 percent, and because most of our budget is devoted to faculty salaries and benefits, that is also where we have to make the cuts.
"We now have to reduce our costs further by starting the process of restructuring our curriculum, while continuing to offer the core classes our students need," Stowell said. "It is my hope that we will be able to retain our lecturers and rescind this letter with the actions we will take in the coming year. But since we have been told that these drastic state budget cuts are projected to continue into 2010-2011, we need to prepare for the worst and comply with our contractual obligations by issuing this notice a year in advance."

If lecturers are laid off, their classes may be taught by tenure track faculty. Waugh has informed Senate faculty that they will have to assume more of the teaching load because of shrinking resources.

Among the programs at UCLA that depend heavily on lecturers are languages, communication studies, social studies and the writing program.
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Scott Waugh explained what steps are being taken by academic departments, deans and the central administration to reduce costs and increase revenue and administrative savings in a July 2 letter.
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