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UC Berkeley rejects compromise to increase enrollment by 1,000 students

A group of Berkeley residents said over the weekend they would compromise with the city’s prestigious public university in a court challenge over student enrollment and housing, but University of California at Berkeley officials have rejected the offer.

Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods has so far successfully challenged the UC Berkeley in court, arguing that the university has not built enough housing for its increasing number of students.

That’s negatively affecting the greater city community, according to the group. They say it’s driving out lower income residents, making the city less diverse, and among other things, causing more noise for permanent residents.

Phil Bokovoy, president of Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods, said in an email:

“SBN would agree to provide partial relief to UC Berkeley from the enrollment pause imposed by the Superior Court and agree to a temporary, partial, stay of the enrollment pause to allow enrollment at UC Berkeley during the 2022-23 academic year to increase from the current court ordered level of 42,347 to 43,347.” 

But the compromise is contingent on two factors. One is that 90 percent of new incoming students in the fall are California residents. The second is that the university agrees not to use the courts or state Legislature to try to exceed the enrollment of 43,347 students next academic year.

UC Berkeley has declined to take the offer.

University spokesman Dan Mogulof said by email:

“UC Berkeley is unable to agree to demands that would provide a small group of litigants with the power to decide who is able to attend the University of California. … That authority appropriately lies with our elected representatives in Sacramento, working in concert with the Board of Regents.”

Also, university officials are looking to the city’s elected officials for guidance on the interests, needs and perspectives of the city’s residents, not to the group of residents who sued, Mogulof said.

City leaders have said they oppose the enrollment freeze.

On Thursday, the California Supreme Court declined to review an urgent petition the university made to block the freeze at least temporarily.

The university was getting ready to issue offers of admission later this month. As a result, thousands of potential UC Berkeley students may not attend.

University officials have said they are going to try to increase online enrollment and ask some students to delay attending the college until January 2023.

The case remains before the California Court of Appeal.

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