A lawsuit threatens drastic cut to UC Berkeley’s fall enrollment : NPR

A lawsuit from indignant neighbors threatens U.C. Berkeley with having to chop enrollment by a 3rd to scale back environmental influence, and shedding $57 million. It is now as much as the state supreme courtroom.


A lawsuit threatens to chop UC Berkeley’s fall enrollment by a 3rd. Now the college is asking California’s Supreme Court docket to step in. In the meantime, the college desires to ship out acceptance letters whereas it appeals the enrollment freeze. Sarah Hosseini from member station KQED has the story.

SARAH HOSSEINI: Seventeen-year-old Aniyah Story, an Oakland Excessive Faculty senior, is attempting to determine the place to go to school.

ANIYAH STORY: Each time I see, like, a university in my electronic mail, I get actually excited as a result of it is round that point the place choices come out. So let me see if I can discover it.

HOSSEINI: She comes throughout as sharp, passionate and concerned. So it is not exhausting to think about her inbox filled with acceptance letters. Amongst her prime picks, proper on her residence turf, is UC Berkeley. However the letter from them says…

STORY: It says, we need to thanks for contemplating UC Berkeley. After which they type of clarify the scenario.

HOSSEINI: …In brief, that her odds simply obtained slimmer.

STORY: I felt simply type of like my probabilities simply type of slipped away from me.

HOSSEINI: A 2019 lawsuit by neighbors of the UC Berkeley campus has resulted in a choose reducing incoming enrollment by about 30%. Just a few blocks away from the UC Berkeley campus, retiree Phil Bokovoy lives in a giant home on a large road with views of the hills. Within the final 20 years, enrollment at his alma mater grew by 40%. He says the neighborhood has modified loads since then.

PHIL BOKOVOY: Housing displacement, noise, elevated waste – and I actually am unhappy at what we have misplaced in Berkeley, and that is why I have been main our group’s efforts to carry the college accountable.

HOSSEINI: Bokovoy is president of Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods, the group that filed the unique lawsuit along with town of Berkeley.

BOKOVOY: This home throughout the road used to have a household that lived there, with children, and it become what we name a mini dorm. And two homes up right here, there’s 14 college students residing in 2,500 sq. toes.

HOSSEINI: Bokovoy says earlier than Cal accepts extra college students, it wants to supply housing for those it already has. Ten p.c of Berkeley’s college students reported they’d skilled homelessness whereas on the faculty in a 2017 survey. Cal ultimately agreed to pay town $83 million, and town withdrew from the swimsuit. However the neighbors persevered, and in August, the courtroom required the college to freeze enrollment at 2020 ranges. A choose stated it wants to review and deal with the increasing pupil physique’s environmental impacts on town at giant, one thing he stated it repeatedly did not do. Now Cal is asking the state Supreme Court docket to pause that cap whereas it appeals. Cal spokesman Dan Mogulof.

DAN MOGULOF: We’re within the course of proper now of exploring each conceivable choice to mitigate the choice if it may possibly’t be reversed.

HOSSEINI: Mogulof says the college is attempting to construct extra housing, however these sorts of authorized challenges gradual issues down. In the meantime, he says admitting fewer freshmen would value the college about $57 million, probably limiting monetary assist for low-income college students and shrinking class choices.

MOGULOF: We all know how exhausting these 1000’s of scholars have labored with a view to acquire entry into Berkeley, and we do not need to allow them to down.

HOSSEINI: Mogulof says the college is contemplating partnering with different colleges and inspiring college students to graduate or take their programs on-line. Late final week, Gov. Gavin Newsom joined Cal in asking the state Supreme Court docket to remain the choose’s order. Whereas all that is happening, Oakland Excessive Faculty senior Aniyah Story is aware of she would not have far more time to determine the place she’s going to highschool.

STORY: And it is simply very emotional about it, as a result of it is a faculty that I am very serious about going to, that plenty of my buddies and classmates are serious about going to.

HOSSEINI: UC Berkeley is urging the Supreme Court docket to behave shortly so we will let 1000’s of would-be college students like story know what’s potential by the top of March. For NPR information, I am Sarah Hosseini in Berkeley.

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