On April 7, UC Berkeley interim Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Carol Christ released a campuswide housing task force survey to garner feedback from students for future housing projects.
According to Andrea Lambert, special projects administrator for the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, or EVCP, the primary intent of the survey is to gain input from students on their housing choice preferences in regards to issues such as cost, proximity to campus and housing types.
The survey team, which is composed of staff from the Office of the EVCP, Student Affairs, Graduate Division and the Office of Planning and Analysis, began creating the survey in mid-February. The team gathered input from ASUC and Graduate Assembly leadership, as well as from special interest student groups such as the Real Estate Student Board, before piloting the survey with volunteer students and postdocs in late March. The official survey launched April 7.
ASUC External Affairs Vice President André Luu said in an email that although he approves of Christ’s efforts to involve students in student housing issues, it is also important for her to take a more active role in seeking out and understanding the perspective of student leaders working on housing accessibility and affordability.
“The earlier report overseen by Christ about potential sites didn’t have students on its committee, so not only did (the committee) choose sites that people are opposed to such as the Oxford tract and People’s Park, but they also didn’t include potential locations that students supported,” said Matthew Lewis, chair of the ASUC Housing Commission.
According to ASUC Senator and External Affairs Vice President-elect Rigel Robinson, one of the main developments since the release of the housing task force’s master report in January is the addition of Springer Gateway, located on University Avenue and Oxford Street, to the survey and the list of potential housing sites. The location was originally slated to become the university hotel, but the hotel plan fell through after students campaigned to add the Gateway to the list of potential student housing sites.
The list of potential future housing locations includes sites such as the Richmond Field Station and University Village, both of which are located farther from the campus than any current student housing units. According to Lewis, the farther away from campus student housing units are, the cheaper the rates will be, as the land is less expensive.
“This survey is a valuable opportunity for students to identify what they want or don’t want out of future housing developments,” Robinson said in an email. “Whether that means cost of living or specific controversial sites, this data will inform years of housing decisions to come.”