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UC Berkeley finance chief says he doesn’t know how much reserves school has*

Friday, August 24, 2012

U.C. Berkeley hired John Wilton, a former World Bank economist, as its vice chancellor of administration and finance.The headline grab from yesterday’s UC Berkeley news conference was Chancellor Robert Birgeneau’s warning of a “very dark day” if Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax measure fails in November. If it happens, undergrads will be hit with yet another whopping tuition increase—20 percent, he says.

But when someone asked John Wilton (pictured), the university’s vice chancellor for administration and finance and a former World Bank economist, how much money the school has in reserves, Wilton said that he didn’t know. And the Oakland Tribune’s Doug Oakley says Wilton declined even to make a guess:
“We do have sufficient reserves to sustain teaching and research, but we can’t run the university on reserves.”
[For a considerably rosier account of Thursday's presser, there's the UC Berkeley News Center's story, an excerpt from which is after the jump.]
On Thursday, in the Haas Pavilion’s Club Room, he [Chancellor Birgeneau] and a half-dozen other campus leaders seized the opportunity to make a persuasive case that despite massive cuts in state funding, the twin pillars of his eight-year tenure as chancellor — access and excellence — are thriving.
The state of the university, they stressed, is remarkably strong on a variety of fronts, from academic achievement to faculty recruitment and retention to access for California’s students, whose numbers at Berkeley are greater than they were when Birgeneau arrived on campus in 2004.

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