Photo by Lily Hallenbeck

Newsom passes bill protecting original UC Berkeley enrollment plan

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 118 on Monday evening to allow UC Berkeley to resume their original enrollment plan in response to a lawsuit by the organization Save Berkeley’s Neighborhood.

SBN, a community organization concerned with the increase in homelessness as a result of UC Berkeley’s housing practices, required the university to cut offers of admission by at least 5,100 for the class of 2026 in their original lawsuit. Senate Bill 118 is intended to provide an avenue for the university to avoid this drastic reduction in class size.

The bill will ensure that student enrollment at a college campus is not included in the California Environmental Quality Act. CEQA requires campuses of public higher education to complete an environmental impact report for a long range development plan, which originally included changes in enrollment levels. 

CEQA was the basis for the SBN lawsuit, which argued the enrollment increase’s effect on housing availability and noise pollution.

While Senate Bill 118 will allow UC Berkeley to once again offer admissions to 15,000 freshmen for the class of 2026, the school will be required to review the environmental impacts of the increased number of students and file a new, supplemental or subsequent EIR if there are changes to the environmental effects. If the EIR is not certified within the next 18 months, enrollment can be capped.