daily californian logo

BERKELEY'S NEWS • NOVEMBER 27, 2022

Take a look at our 2022 midterm elections special issue!

Campus cannot just move homeless people

article image

LILY CALLENDER | STAFF

SUPPORT OUR NONPROFIT NEWSROOM

We're an independent student-run newspaper, and need your support to maintain our coverage.

JANUARY 24, 2020

Update 1/30/2020: this editorial has been updated after the Editorial Board gained more information from campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof.

When UCPD administered a “clean up” of People’s Park on Jan. 17, a handful of the park’s residents were left on the side of the street with their belongings in trash bags. While given advance notice of the clean up, several of the park’s residents were left with minimal alternatives when displaced. As policy concerns persist regarding the status of these individuals, it is now more important than ever to create viable solutions for Berkeley’s homeless community. 

Throughout the years, the residents of People’s Park have gone without many basic needs resources. For example, although sanitation is a concern for city and campus officials alike, it’s impossible to deny that the park’s public restroom is less than inviting. While the campus has a responsibility toward its students, it also has a responsibility toward the park’s residents.

Although residents were offered sufficient housing alternatives, many individuals simply cannot rely on temporary solutions. The campus should be sedimenting permanent solutions with organizations that work directly with community members. With the ongoing housing development project aiming to serve members of the homeless community in addition to future students, how will the campus take the necessary steps to accommodate both groups?

To further help the homeless residents in the park, the city needs to lend the campus a hand. The city’s sidewalk ordinance was put in place to supposedly address sanitation issues, but the policy itself is a thinly veiled attempt at limiting the times and locations in which homeless people are allowed to exist. The campus and city should work together to best support these people — pushing residents out of the park does literally nothing to enact humane solutions.

There is a full-time social worker employed by the campus to assist the park’s residents, so it is heartening to see that the campus is taking the initiative in making sure their needs are met. This is definitely encouraging — hopefully, as the campus works on the supplemental housing they have planned for People’s Park, they’ll be seeking more input. 

Until then, though, the campus should consider focusing more assets toward supporting the park’s occupants or, if that’s infeasible, uplifting the organizations that do. It’s encouraging to know that coalitions of community members, students and Berkeley residents are trying to help provide for the homeless community. There are myriad people who work to support the homeless community, and the campus should be joining forces and complementing these groups on how to develop viable solutions.

Regardless of who owns the park, finding viable, long-term alternatives for the park’s current residents will require a team effort. Campus will ultimately benefit from working closely with these organizations, and to the communities that will be affected, to serve them adequately.

Corrections: A previous version of this editorial incorrectly implied that the campus has not attempted to improve the condition of the People’s Park bathroom. In fact, the Editorial Board could not find any evidence that the campus has not made any effort to do so. A previous version of this editorial incorrectly implied that the campus does not have support systems in place for occupants of People’s Park. In fact, the campus employs one full-time social worker to care for the inhabitants of the park. A previous version of this editorial incorrectly implied that the campus did not provide sufficient warning to occupants about when officers would arrive. In fact, officers alerted occupants a week in advance and some occupants left voluntarily before the cleanup date.
Editorials represent the majority opinion of the editorial board as written by the spring 2020 opinion editor, Simmy Khetpal.
LAST UPDATED

FEBRUARY 02, 2020


Related Articles

featured article
As the percentage of student instructors employed for less than 25% of a full-time schedule continues to increase, campus administrators need to be more mindful of their needs. 
As the percentage of student instructors employed for less than 25% of a full-time schedule continues to increase, campus administrators need to be more mindful of their needs. 
featured article
featured article
The university has a chance to reassess and reaffirm what role it plans to play in an increasingly polarized environment.
The university has a chance to reassess and reaffirm what role it plans to play in an increasingly polarized environment.
featured article
featured article
It’s unimaginably nerve-wracking to have the most powerful forces in the nation acting against you, but there is also a coalition of institutions fighting to preserve that chance.
It’s unimaginably nerve-wracking to have the most powerful forces in the nation acting against you, but there is also a coalition of institutions fighting to preserve that chance.
featured article