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

A lawsuit from offended neighbors threatens U.C. Berkeley with having to chop enrollment by a 3rd to cut back environmental impression, and dropping $57 million. It is now as much as the state supreme court docket.


A lawsuit threatens to chop UC Berkeley’s fall enrollment by a 3rd. Now the college is asking California’s Supreme Courtroom to step in. In the meantime, the college needs 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 making an attempt to resolve the place to go to varsity.

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

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

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

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

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

HOSSEINI: A 2019 lawsuit by neighbors of the UC Berkeley campus has resulted in a choose chopping 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 neighborhood’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 youngsters, and it was what we name a mini dorm. And two homes up right here, there’s 14 college students residing in 2,500 sq. ft.

HOSSEINI: Bokovoy says earlier than Cal accepts extra college students, it wants to offer housing for those it already has. Ten p.c of Berkeley’s college students reported they’d skilled homelessness whereas on the school in a 2017 survey. Cal finally agreed to pay town $83 million, and town withdrew from the go well with. However the neighbors endured, and in August, the court docket required the college to freeze enrollment at 2020 ranges. A choose stated it wants to check and handle the increasing pupil physique’s environmental impacts on town at giant, one thing he stated it repeatedly didn’t do. Now Cal is asking the state Supreme Courtroom 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 making an attempt to construct extra housing, however these sorts of authorized challenges sluggish issues down. In the meantime, he says admitting fewer freshmen would price the college about $57 million, doubtlessly limiting monetary support for low-income college students and shrinking class choices.

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

HOSSEINI: Mogulof says the college is contemplating partnering with different faculties 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 Courtroom to remain the choose’s order. Whereas all that is happening, Oakland Excessive Faculty senior Aniyah Story is aware of she would not have way more time to resolve the place she’s going to high school.

STORY: And it is simply very emotional about it, as a result of this can be a college that I am very occupied with going to, that a whole lot of my buddies and classmates are occupied with going to.

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

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