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

A group of residents that successfully challenged the University of California, Berkeley to limit its undergraduate enrollment offered to allow 1,000 additional students in the upcoming academic year, but the university declined, saying the decision isn’t up to "a small group of litigants."

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

The ruling was a victory for the group, which argued that UC Berkeley has failed to address the effect of increased student enrollment on housing, homelessness, traffic and noise. Supporters of the university lamented that the lawsuit was dashing the dreams of thousands of students.

In the statement released Saturday, Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods offered to allow the university to enroll 1,000 more students provided 90% of them are California residents and if the University of California ends its effort to get out from under the cap through the courts and state Legislature.

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The group’s representatives said they were "willing to enter into settlement talks based on the principle that enrollment growth can only take place with no further pressure on the City of Berkeley’s housing market."

However, UC Berkeley spokesperson Dan Mogulof told The San Francisco Chronicle that enrollment decisions in the UC system are made by elected representatives in California — including the governor, the UC Board of Regents and the office of the UC president — and that university officials "will not provide a small group of litigants with the ability to tell the University of California how many students to enroll."

The university plans to present its case before the Court of Appeals this summer. In the meantime, it said it will comply with the court order and try to keep its prospective students by increasing online enrollment and asking some of them to delay enrollment until January 2023.

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