The NIMBY group Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods won a court battle and trimmed UC Berkeley’s 2022-23 enrollment by 3,000. Now they’re offering a new deal to cut it by only 2,000, but the school says ‘No thanks, we’ll keep fighting you.’
There is always drama in Berkeley. But it is rarely as heartbreaking as last week’s case where thousands of students had their acceptance letters withheld, because a neighborhood group successfully sued the school and forced them to reduce enrollment thanks to the effects of a growing student body on the Berkeley housing market. "This court-mandated decrease in enrollment would be a tragic outcome for thousands of students who have worked incredibly hard to gain admission to Berkeley," the school said in a statement, shortly before that “tragic outcome” did indeed come down.
But rather than taking a victory lap, the neighborhood group Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods is now trying to offer an alternate deal that would trim admission only by about 2,000 students, instead of 3,000 from their successful court victory. The Chronicle reports that Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods offered a compromise deal in a weekend statement that would allow the additional 1,000 students, but only "if the University of California halted its effort to get out from under the cap through the courts and state Legislature.” (State Senator Scott Wiener is working on a legislative bailout to exempt UC schools from the ruling that went against them).
Per a Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods press release, the group says they “would agree to provide partial relief to UC Berkeley from the enrollment pause” as long as "at least 90% of new undergraduate students matriculating at UC Berkeley in the 2022-23 academic year are California residents, and providing that UC does not attempt to exceed total enrollment of 43,347 for the 2022-23 academic year." Per the Chron, there are currently 45,057 students enrolled at the school.
And KRON4 reports that UC Berkeley is telling the group they can take their compromise offer and shove it. In a statement to the Chronicle, university spokesperson Dan Mogulof said the school “will not provide a small group of litigants with the ability to tell the University of California how many students to enroll.” He also complained that Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods took their offer deal to the media before they presented it to the school, saying, “It’s hard to accept whether or not this group’s intentions align with what it states its desires are.”
UC Berkeley must be pretty confident they’re going to win this thing through some legislation, like Senator Weiner's, or through some other form of legal relief. They were just extended a compromise deal and slapped it away, deciding instead to play chicken with their neighborhood group opponents. And there’s more than pride at stake for them here, because they could lose as much as $57 million in enrollment fees if the original ruling holds up.
Image: Gku via Wikimedia Commons