The University of California system is home to some of the most well-renowned universities in the world. The consistency of these rankings and the system’s incredible faculties and programs mean that students from all over the globe clamor to get their place in the universities. However, this does not blend well with the ongoing student housing crisis that all UCs are facing, and have been facing for many years now. Now, UC Berkeley is taking drastic measures to deal with this issue by considering the freezing of enrollment so they can try to solve the problem. While this seems like an overreaction to the problem to some, the fact is that the wisest thing that Berkeley can do at this time is stop accepting new students in order to house the ones they currently have and help them succeed.
Berkeley should absolutely freeze enrollment. Though it will mean a sharp dip as new coming freshmen aren’t flooding in to pay exorbitant tuition, it will avoid more students fighting for housing the way they have been for years now. Across the UC system, students are having to resort to being homeless, sometimes even sleeping in their cars or couch surfing while attending some of the best universities in the world. By freezing enrollment, UC Berkeley will have the chance to get its ducks in a row and work with the student body they currently have and work to solve this crisis from there.
Although this will be a financial blow for the university, this maneuver absolutely must be undertaken. It is well-known, shown in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, that an individual often cannot obtain self-actualization or a good education when stuck at the “bottom level” of the pyramid — that is, their basic needs of food, shelter and clothing are not being met. If this lower level of physiological needs are not met, then students are often unable to focus on such necessities higher up this pyramid, such as safety, friendship and reaching their fullest personal potential. Leaving students out to dry by not offering them a roof over their heads and meals to eat prevents them from achieving their full potential in the education they are trying to receive. If Berkeley chooses not to freeze enrollment, they are doing their students a great disservice by essentially blocking them from reaching their highest potential as students of a UC school.
No matter the loss of money, it does not compare to the suffering that students have to face because of a lack of access to affordable housing. In their effort to run like a corporate machine, universities and their systems often forget the very human needs of those who attend their university and fund it in the first place. Freezing enrollment will prevent more students from falling into this trap of attending a great university while living on the street at the end of a long day of classes. Indeed, if the universities had more morality, they could warn students upfront of the housing crisis that they are facing so students understand what they’re getting into, and possibly make other plans for housing if they are able to do so.
In situations like these, the only people that suffer are the students. Though losing a year of freshmen will certainly take a toll on the university, the fact is, UC schools are wealthy and have many students paying tuition already. If UC Berkeley and indeed all the UCs want to focus on solving the housing crisis, they need to stop inviting new recruits in to fight for already limited housing in the first place. They must focus on the students they already promised to watch out for. To avoid doing so is to show that they don’t care about the quality of education that their students receive, and to prevent current generations of students from achieving their fullest potential even at a top university.