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UC Berkeley Appeals to California Supreme Court to Avoid Admission Cuts

Doe Memorial Library at the University of California, Berkeley
Chris Rycroft
Doe Memorial Library at the University of California, Berkeley

A years-long fight to cap UC Berkeley admissions came to a head last Thursday – when a California court held that the University freeze future enrollment to the same levels of the 2020-2021 pandemic year.

News of the ruling has prompted University officials to request an emergency stay from the California Supreme Court. The stay could halt the decision as the University prepares to send out offer letters next month. Without the court’s intervention, next year’s admitted freshman class could be cut by one-third, impacting more than 3,000 college hopefuls.

The decision to curb admissions has proved controversial among students and Berkeley locals.

Some residents – like the community group Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods – have embraced the ruling. They say the University has failed to provide adequate housing to its growing student body – putting a strain on the city’s already tight housing market.

In the last decade, UC Berkeley has increased enrollment by 6,500 students. Yet, Berkeleyside reports that the University’s campus only houses 22 percent of undergraduates and less than 10 percent of its graduate students – the lowest rate in the entire UC system.

At the same time, University representatives, students, and local and state politicians fear that enrollment cuts could lose the University funds –a projected $57 million – and the ability to serve California students, particularly those from low-income backgrounds.

UC Berkeley is currently scheduled to release admission decisions on March 24th.

I am a researcher and writer from Oakland, CA. I cut my teeth in radio at my college station and since graduating, I’ve worked as a paralegal, arts administrator, maritime historian, and most recently, a fellow at WorldAffairs, a global politics radio show and podcast co-produced with KQED. In my work, I am interested in the intersections of race, climate, and labor rights as well as place-based narratives of marginalization and the relationship between local history, public space, and identity formation, especially among queer and BIPOC communities. I am also passionate about drawing on the performing arts—particularly theater and music—to develop interview/storytelling practices grounded in mutual repair and community-building.