University of California Board of Regents committees today approved a plan that would institute employee furloughs along with other cuts and fee hikes, setting up a full board vote on the proposal Thursday.

The Regents’ committee on finance and compensation met in San Francisco at the UCSF Mission Bay campus this morning to consider a plan to offset an anticipated $813 million budget shortfall for the 2008-09 and 2009-10 fiscal years.

The plan includes a modified furlough plan that will force more than 108,000 members of the UC faculty and staff to take anywhere from 11 to 26 furlough days, with higher earners being forced to take more furlough days and steeper pay cuts, according to university officials.

The furloughs are expected to eliminate about a quarter of the budget deficit. The rest of the savings will come from previously approved student fee increases, debt refinancing and cuts spread across the 10 UC campuses.

The full board will vote on the plan at 11 a.m. Thursday.

Hundreds of UC students and employees set up picket lines to protest the furloughs and fee hikes before today’s meeting, according to Jelger Kalmijn, president of the University Professional and Technical Employees union.

The protestors came “to tell Yudof that his plans for UC make no sense,” Kalmijn said.

He said the budget gap could be addressed by tapping UC’s financial reserves, and by abating expansion and moderating executive pay.

“Yudof makes twice what his predecessor made, but he’s decided to furlough workers already making 20 to 30 percent under market rate,” Kalmijn said.

Yudof said in a statement after today’s meeting that “there is no doubt that these reductions will be painful for our faculty and staff.

“Unfortunately, the university is facing a financial crisis unprecedented in the past quarter-century, and everyone is going to be called on to be part of the solution,” he said.

Some of the cuts on specific campuses include the deferral of planned faculty hires. UC Berkeley expects to reduce faculty recruitment from 100 positions a year to 10.

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