Mayor's Statement on UC Lawsuit

I want to make it clear that this lawsuit is not about the Upper Hearst Project, but about holding the University accountable. I am committed to working with the University to reach a resolution that best serves our community.

The City of Berkeley values the important role UC Berkeley plays as a regional employer and world-class research institution. The City and UC have a special relationship, and growth on campus must be planned and accommodated in a way that is collaborative and synergistic.

The City Council’s decision to authorize litigation over the Upper Hearst Development SEIR was not made lightly. We strongly support Chancellor Christ’s goals to create more student housing. The Upper Hearst Development is a worthy project and should not be saddled by a flawed EIR or cramming the issue of greater student enrollment into the report.

Education is a right, and we believe UC must continue to open its doors to all. However, that doesn’t mean the University should ignore the impacts that increasing growth brings on our city. The impacts are felt by everyone throughout our city, including UC students. There are increasing burdens on our streets, police and fire services. The lack of planning intensifies the housing crisis, undermining stability of our most vulnerable, including students. The University’s exempt status from property taxes and other fees places an unfair burden on local residents to address increasing growth. In fact a preliminary third-party analysis found that the impact of this growth is at least $21 million every year.

Jesse Arreguin