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Judge rules that UC Berkeley must study the impacts of growth before raising enrollment

By Frances Dinkelspiel, Berkeleyside, August 24, 2021

“The order to freeze enrollment comes a little more than a month after Judge Brad Seligman ruled that UC Berkeley abused its discretion when it failed to study the impacts of increasing its enrollment by 33.7 percent, or 11,285 students, from 2005 to 2020. That was just one of the deficiencies in the supplemental environmental impact report for what is called the Upper Hearst Project, the judge ruled.

“Seligman also ordered the UC Board of Regents to void its 2018 approval of the Upper Hearst project and to decertify the supplemental environmental impact report. Cal must redo the SEIR to address certain issues, including how student enrollment increases have affected noise, housing, and displacement in Berkeley, the judge ruled.

“The ruling is not only a victory for neighbors upset with UC Berkeley’s growth and its mitigation measures, but for other communities in California struggling to deal with UC campus impacts, said Phil Bokovoy, the president of Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods, which filed the original lawsuit.

Berkeley sued in 2019 but dropped the suit when the City Council voted on July 13 to enter into an $83 million agreement with UC Berkeley. Cal will pay Berkeley $4.1 million a year over the next 16 years for its use of city services in exchange for Berkeley dropping its opposition to the new 2021 long-range development plan and environmental impact report.

“That left Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods to pursue its case against UC Berkeley.”

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