UC Berkeley press release


With cooperation lacking, UC Berkeley proceeds with eviction of insolvent bookstore

by Jesus Mena and Marie Felde

Berkeley -- After exhaustive, but unsuccessful negotiations with student government leaders, the University of California at Berkeley said today (7/23) it will proceed as planned to evict the financially insolvent student-run bookstore.

On July 12, Chancellor Chang-Lin Tien informed the Associated Students of the University of California that due to the financial insolvency of the ASUC-run bookstore, he was denying their appeal of the removal of their right to conduct commercial activities on campus.

While the ASUC was given until the end of the business day Friday, July 19, to cease operations, university representatives continued to meet with ASUC officers in the hope of reaching a workable agreement.

At the request of the ASUC officers, campus administrators met with them again on Sunday afternoon to continue negotiations. The breakdown of those negotiations led the campus to begin eviction proceedings, according to Vice Chancellor Horace Mitchell.

The action was precipitated by the accelerating financial deterioration of the student-run enterprise. The store had posted losses of more than $900,000 in the four months of February through May of this year, with a record loss of $248,000 in May alone. Last year, the store lost $671,500.

This action is consistent with goals outlined by the campus, which include:

-- To preserve an independent student government by severing the business failure from the political entity. The ASUC remains the fully functioning student government on the UC Berkeley campus.

-- To guarantee a source of income from store profits for student government and student group activities.

-- To create a financially sound university bookstore that will assure books and other essential services are consistently available.

-- To provide a mechanism for student participation in the operation of the campus bookstore.

-- To seek assurances from the ASUC that funds from mandatory student fees will not be diverted to the money-losing operation thereby placing at risk funding for student government and programs.

The campus had offered to run a new bookstore under a working partnership with the student government. This proposal included offering nearly all ASUC store employees UC employment. The students rejected this offer, insisting on remaining in control of the enterprise.

To replace the essential campus service, the university will establish a self-supporting auxiliary to operate a new bookstore that will meet the needs of the campus.

Mitchell said he hopes the ASUC will reconsider and work with the university and will not pursue litigation that would prove costly to both the university and the students.

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