Campus students have been circulating a petition on Twitter that urges UC Berkeley to create new housing plans to replace its current ones at People’s Park and 1921 Walnut St.
The housing plans, first released by campus over three years ago, will include a tower with 14 floors to provide housing for students and a separate supportive housing structure for nonstudent residents. The petition claims that for plans to follow through, People’s Park and 1921 Walnut St. would be impacted by construction.
A coalition that includes campus students and faculty who previously wrote an op-ed for The Daily Californian wrote the petition, according to ASUC senator-elect Amanda Hill.
Hill said they were in favor of ending campus’s development, noting that UC Berkeley already owns more than 8,000 acres, many of which are in the city of Berkeley. Campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof noted, however, that campus already owns the land People’s Park is built on.
“It’s our responsibility as students and people who benefit from the desecration of sacred Native land to try and put a stop to it,” Hill said. “If anyone else had intended to buy 1921 Walnut St., they would be subject to rent.”
Hill called the availability of unaffordable student housing and its prioritization over the area’s residents “absurd.”
Campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof noted that Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín and Berkeley City Council members support the current housing plans. Mogulof added that the planned student housing is intended for all students and will be accompanied by separate supportive housing for low-income and unhoused community members.
“We also fail to understand why the petition does not acknowledge that the supportive housing will serve unhoused and extremely low income members of our community,” Mogulof said in an email.
Campus senior Mayra Herrera said she supports the petition and hopes to make students aware of the benefits and downfalls of campus’s housing plans. Using social media makes it easier for the petition to spread, Herrera added.
Herrera said she called for “an open dialogue” with UC Berkeley and believes much of campus’s business was allegedly conducted behind closed doors.
According to the petition, it aims to receive attention and action from campus Chancellor Carol Christ.
Mogulof added that UC Berkeley is interested in listening to informed public opinion regarding its housing plans.
“We held three separate open houses, and more public engagement is planned,” Mogulof said in the email.