Berkeley Global Campus working group passes final recommendations

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The Berkeley Global Campus community working group shared and voted Thursday on final drafts of their recommendations for how UC Berkeley should interact with the Richmond community.

This was the 11th meeting of the community working group established to create recommendations to guide campus leaders in collaborating with the city of Richmond as UC Berkeley begins the process of building its satellite campus.

The working group is composed of representatives from various community outreach organizations, educational institutions and city government officials, as well as non-voting representatives from UC Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The working group’s four subcommittees — local hire and workforce training, procurement, housing and displacement and education — presented and discussed their final lists of recommendations with each other and the public before the working group voted.

Comments from both group members and the public ranged from specific disputes over policy language to broad concerns regarding the future of Richmond.

Although members of both the group and the public raised concerns over each set of proposed recommendations, they were all passed overwhelmingly, while other group members agreed that some would require additional alterations. The complete set of recommendations will be submitted to campus leadership in January.

Dozens of community members attended the meeting, some as part of community organizations and others of their own accord. Brandon Evans, a Richmond resident who works to help Richmond workers find jobs, said he attended the meeting because he wanted to “be involved in the conversation about what’s going on in the community.”

“I think the opportunity is too big to pass up,” Evans said, referring to potential for the working group’s recommendations to positively impact the Richmond community. “The city could definitely benefit from an anchor institution like this university.”

While working group members shared the belief that the recommendations could positively impact the community, there was some dispute about how to maximize their effectiveness.

Working group member and Richmond city manager Bill Lindsay pointed to their lack of specificity when it came to budgets, adding that “it’s too easy to reject if it doesn’t have some underlying support.”

But despite disputes over specifics, working group members tried to find common ground whenever possible.

“I think we have to, as much as possible, be united,” said Tammeil Gilkerson, a working group member representing Contra Costa College.

Once the recommendations are submitted to UC Berkeley, campus leadership will discuss how best to respond to the preferences of the Richmond community.

“We might not be able to do every single thing that the people ask for,” said Ruben Lizardo, the campus director of local government and community relations, as well as a non-voting member of the group. But he said, “support for having a comprehensive, inclusive and dynamic process is part of our commitment.”

Although working group and community members did express concern about how the Berkeley Global Campus may affect Richmond, many held the belief that the partnership between the campus and the city could be positive.

“Let’s be united, as one,” said Lee Turner, a Richmond resident. “We need UC Berkeley, as well as they need us.”

Contact Maxwell Jenkins-Goetz at [email protected].