Legislation Addresses UC Berkeley Enrollment Freeze

New legislation (SB 866) introduced this week (Feb. 21) by state Sen. Scott Weiner (San Francisco) would shield student and faculty residential projects by public universities and colleges from lawsuits brought under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Although the legislation has been in the works for months, its unveiling comes shortly after a court ruling in a Berkeley neighborhood group’s CEQA lawsuit that could deny thousands of incoming UC Berkeley students admission this coming fall. The abusive lawsuit challenged the university’s enrollment growth plan and, specifically, a faculty housing project.

The Bay Area Council joined with Gov. Gavin Newsom, the City of Berkeley and other groups in filing an amicus brief urging the state Supreme Court to stay the lower court ruling. University and college students face the same housing crunch being experienced by millions of other California residents as a result of local resistance and the failure of cities over many decades to approve sufficient housing to meet the state’s needs. To engage in the Council’s housing policy work, please contact Senior Vice President Matt Regan.

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