The California Supreme Court’s Thursday ruling ordered campus to freeze enrollment at 2020-21 levels, which will prevent thousands of students from enrolling at UC Berkeley in the fall.
The court leaves a lower court order that reduces enrollment to 2020-21 levels, siding with Save Berkeley Neighborhoods. Save Berkeley Neighborhoods President Phil Bokovoy said the group sued campus for failing to address the impacts student enrollment has on housing, houselessness and noise, noting that students from lower income families struggle to find housing in Berkeley.
“We are extremely disheartened by today’s ruling by the Supreme Court of California,” said campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof in an email. “This is devastating news for the thousands of students who have worked so hard for and have earned a seat in our fall 2022 class.”
Bokovoy noted that though Save Berkeley Neighborhoods is pleased with the decision, the organization regrets that California high schools students will not be able to attend UC Berkeley.
Save Berkeley Neighborhoods looks forward to meeting with UC President Michael Drake to begin the settlement process, Bokovoy added.
While UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ and Interim Vice Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Catherine Koshland called the ruling “disheartening,” they noted campus will continue to fight for every student who earned their acceptance offer.
“This ruling is disheartening, however our resolve is unwavering,” Christ and Koshland in a statement. “We will do whatever we can to mitigate the harm to prospective students and to continue to serve our students.”
Campus is currently working with state leaders to identify potential legislative solutions, according to Mogulof. He noted that California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s state budget prioritizes higher education and could address significant impacts of the order, including access to a UC education.
However, the mandated enrollment reduction will go into effect, unless there is a “timely fix,” Mogulof said. The implementation of the freeze will focus on mitigating harm by increasing online enrollment and asking prospective students to delay enrollment until the spring semester, Mogulof added. Campus will also prioritize California residents and transfer students for in-person fall enrollment.
Mogulof noted these strategies are designed to pivot to more in-person offers if the legislature provides relief in time.
“Our fight on behalf of every one of these students continues,” Mogulof said in the email. “We are a residential university and we would like all students to have a full, rich in-person experience starting in the fall when all of their classmates enroll.”