UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ updates ASUC on planned housing projects

Three rows of people sit at long tables at a meeting and look to a panel of speakers with large projectors behind them.
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ASUC senators received updates about planned housing developments from Chancellor Carol Christ and voted to increase funds for an undocumented student scholarship at Wednesday night’s regular meeting.

During the meeting, Christ said the campus is moving forward with a housing project on the Upper Hearst Parking Structure and will propose it to the UC Board of Regents in March. The campus plans to build 150 apartments with 225 beds, which will likely serve graduate students and faculty members, she added.

Christ also said the campus is looking to develop what she calls the “Gateway Site” on University Avenue and Oxford Street. She said the plan is to build a “very tall” apartment building — potentially 10 to 12 stories high — that is intended to house campus upperclassmen and graduate students. The campus previously had plans to build a 10-story hotel on the site.

After these projects are completed, Christ said the campus will look into developing People’s Park and the Oxford Tract. She explained that she wants the campus community to know the sequence in which the developments will occur but clarified that all of these projects will take a number of years.

“It’s not as if it’s happening tomorrow,” Christ said during the meeting.

During the meeting, senators also unanimously passed a resolution that would increase funds for the ASUC RISE Scholarship, which was established to help undocumented students ineligible for federal financial aid. Five to seven applicants typically apply to the scholarship, but this semester the ASUC received an “unprecedented” 45 applicants, according to Senator Nick Araujo, the resolution’s primary sponsor.

In October, ASUC senators passed a similar resolution increasing the funds for the RISE Scholarship from $5,000 to $7,500, with the additional $2,500 coming from the ASUC Senate Contingency Fund. Wednesday night’s resolution raises the RISE Scholarship amount to $9,800, but these additional funds will come out of the budget of several other scholarships offered by the ASUC, including the Greek Opportunity Fund and the Arts and Creativity Fund.

“We were denying more applicants than we were accepting,” Araujo said. “If the ASUC is going to promote serving undocumented students, then we should reflect that in our budget.”

Araujo added that the increase in applications proves that there needs to be more money allocated to the RISE Scholarship and that he will be pushing for more funding for next year.

None of the applicants have been interviewed yet, though they applied in the fall because the ASUC was not prepared for the level of applications it received. Araujo said that winners of the scholarship will receive anywhere from $210 to $225.

“I really appreciate the senators who supported and the (Academic Affairs Vice President’s) office who helped us … ensure that students can get aid,” Araujo said.

Anjali Shrivastava is the lead student government reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @anjalii_shrivas.