“All we ever wanted was a legally binding commitment that they add accommodation before adding more students,” said Mr. Bokovoy, the nonprofit’s chairman and former banker. investment with a home near campus worth an estimated $1.5 million. . “It’s about preserving the culture and diversity of Berkeley.”
The University of California system has on-campus beds for about 106,000 students, leaving about two in three competing for off-campus housing in some of the nation’s most expensive housing markets. At Berkeley, the university is home to about 22% of its undergraduate students, fewer than any other campus in the system.
Even though students make up more than a quarter of Berkeley’s population, the city, constrained by its urban location and committed to its low-rise aesthetic, has until recent years resisted development. Rent for a two-bedroom apartment is around $4,000 a month “and that’s for one that’s not even nice,” said Ms. Master, the student government officer.
In 2005, the university projected enrollment would be 33,450 by 2020, a number that became the basis of a long-term plan to expand the campus. But in 2017, Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods discovered that registrations had already exceeded that estimate by 30%.
After the university announced a conversion plan one acre of parking in new academic spaces and housing for faculty and graduates, Mr. Bokovoy’s group has again filed a lawsuit, this time with the city of Berkeley. They argued that the university’s environmental impact report – which concluded that the additional students had no significant impact – was inadequate.
Together, the lawsuits became the basis for a complex set of litigation over whether the university properly investigated and mitigated the impact of all of its enrollments. Last summer, a Superior Court issued an unusual order that canceled and capped the university’s enrollment at its 2020-2021 level of 42,357 students until the school significantly expands the study of the environment in its long-term growth plan.
The decision could still be overturned, but due to the order – which was left in place by the California Supreme Court last week – the university has had to reduce the number of students coming to campus in the fall .