UC Berkeley battles with Supreme Court of CA to maintain admission numbers


Mark Zhou

Amador seniors are relieved that admission numbers will not be capped for the admitted 2022 class.

Mark Zhou, Staff Writer

 The Supreme Court of California ruled on March 3 that the University of California, Berkeley must maintain admissions at 2020 levels due to a housing crisis in the city. On March 11, the Senate passed SB 118 in response, countering the enrollment cap and permitting Berkeley to maintain admission numbers.

“I think the bill really shows the power of the people in California. I have a friend who actually emailed our representative in our district to get the policy across, and I think it really just shows the power that the collective has, especially in terms of passing policy today,” said Jonah Wang (‘22).

Why the Lawsuit?

The organization Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods, led by Phil Bokovoy, accused the university of reducing the quality of the living environment in neighborhoods.  The university only houses 22% of its undergraduates and 9% of its graduate students. In a 2017 survey, an appalling 10% of students reported to have experienced homelessness. 

“Housing is definitely a problem I’ve felt stressed out and frustrated by. I know there are freshmen who are getting stuffed into rooms that definitely were not supposed to fit all of them. There’s even a student who was put in a study room in one of the dorms to live in. Most students do tend to find housing, but at higher costs or requiring to fit more people in a room which frankly sucks,” said Mona Li, a sophomore at UC Berkeley.  

Even though the university is trying to build new dorms, the process seems too slow to meet the increase in enrollment every year. As a result, houses and apartments near campus are being turned into overcrowded dorms. 

“Many students live southside, which is busier since most of the food places are there and it doesn’t quiet down until 2 a.m. or after because of drunk people and partying,” said Li. 

UC Berkeley condemned the lawsuit, but after a re-evaluation of the admissions process, the university resolved to admit 2000 undergraduates to remote learning for the fall semester. In the spring, Berkeley will offer them in-person learning after some students graduate and leave in December. 

What’s next?

Though SB 118 won’t solve housing problems, Berkeley will be able to admit their planned 17% of applicants this year.

“I am very relieved because I am an international student. If they were going to cut applicants, international students like me would be the primary target because UCs must prioritize California students,” said Richard Li (‘22).