A lawsuit from indignant neighbors threatens U.C. Berkeley with having to chop enrollment by a 3rd to scale back environmental influence, and dropping $57 million. It is now as much as the state supreme court docket.
AILSA CHANG, HOST:
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 College senior, is attempting to resolve 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 selections come out. So let me see if I can discover it.
HOSSEINI: She comes throughout as sharp, passionate and concerned. So it isn’t onerous to think about her inbox stuffed with acceptance letters. Amongst her high 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 form of clarify the scenario.
HOSSEINI: …Briefly, that her odds simply obtained slimmer.
STORY: I felt simply form of like my possibilities simply form of slipped away from me.
HOSSEINI: A 2019 lawsuit by neighbors of the UC Berkeley campus has resulted in a decide slicing incoming enrollment by about 30%. A couple of blocks away from the UC Berkeley campus, retiree Phil Bokovoy lives in a giant home on a large avenue with views of the hills. Within the final 20 years, enrollment at his alma mater grew by 40%. He says the neighborhood has modified rather a lot 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 children, and it became 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 offer housing for those it already has. Ten % of Berkeley’s college students reported they’d skilled homelessness whereas on the school in a 2017 survey. Cal ultimately agreed to pay town $83 million, and town withdrew from the go well with. However the neighbors persevered, and in August, the court docket required the college to freeze enrollment at 2020 ranges. A decide stated it wants to review and tackle the increasing pupil physique’s environmental impacts on town at massive, one thing he stated it repeatedly didn’t 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 will 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, doubtlessly limiting monetary help for low-income college students and shrinking class choices.
MOGULOF: We all know how onerous these 1000’s of scholars have labored in an effort 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 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 Court docket to remain the decide’s order. Whereas all that is happening, Oakland Excessive College senior Aniyah Story is aware of she would not have rather 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 it is a college that I am very desirous about going to, that loads of my mates and classmates are desirous about going to.
HOSSEINI: UC Berkeley is urging the Supreme Court docket to behave rapidly so we will let 1000’s of would-be college students like story know what’s attainable by the top of March. For NPR information, I am Sarah Hosseini in Berkeley.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This textual content might not be in its last type and could also be up to date or revised sooner or later. Accuracy and availability might differ. The authoritative document of NPR’s programming is the audio document.