UC Berkeley declines group’s offer to admit 1,000 more students

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FILE – Students walk on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, California August 15, 2017. A group of residents who successfully challenged the university to limit its undergraduate enrollment have proposed to allow an additional 1,000 students in the next academic year. Save Berkeley Neighborhoods said Saturday, March 5, 2022, that it is prepared to settle a lawsuit with the prestigious public university if UC Berkeley ends its efforts to opt out of this week’s court order aimed at limiting registrations for the 2020-21 school year. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

PA

A resident group that successfully challenged the University of California, Berkeley to limit its undergraduate enrollment has proposed allowing 1,000 more students in the next academic year. But the university refused, saying enrollment decisions do not belong to “a small group of litigants”.

Save Berkeley Neighborhoods said in a statement it would accept a temporary or partial stay of the state Supreme Court’s decision on Thursday to freeze next fall’s enrollment at 2020-21 levels, meaning that the prestigious public university must accept around 3,000 fewer students than expected.

The decision was a victory for the group, which argued that UC Berkeley had failed to address the effect of increased student enrollment on housing, homelessness, traffic and the noise. University supporters lamented that the lawsuit shattered the dreams of thousands of students.

In the statement released Saturday, Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods offered to allow the university to enroll an additional 1,000 students provided 90% of them are California residents and if the University of California ends its efforts to stop fighting the enrollment cap in the courts and state legislature.

Representatives for the group said they were “willing to enter into settlement talks based on the principle that enrollment growth can only occur without additional pressure on the City of Berkeley housing market.”

However, UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof told the San Francisco Chronicle that enrollment decisions in the UC system are made by elected representatives in California, including the governor, board of trustees of the UC and the office of the president of the UC. He said university officials “will not give a small group of litigants the opportunity to tell the University of California how many students to enroll.”

The university plans to present its case to the Court of Appeal this summer. In the meantime, he said he would comply with the court order and try to keep prospective students by increasing online registrations and asking some to delay registration until January 2023.

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