B.E.A.R.S. Initiative Passes, Awaits Judicial Council Ruling

Photo: Senators Christopher Franco (center) and Jonathan Gaurano (center-right) celebrate the passing of the B.E.A.R.S. Initiative.
Simone Anne Lang/Photo
Senators Christopher Franco (center) and Jonathan Gaurano (center-right) celebrate the passing of the B.E.A.R.S. Initiative.

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After one of the most well-organized campaigns in recent memory, the B.E.A.R.S. Initiative, which will raise funds for the renovation of Lower Sproul Plaza, passed by a large margin, though a challenge to the initiative has yet to be ruled on by the ASUC Judicial Council.

Students will be required to pay a $35 fee next year, which will increase incrementally over the next 30 years. The fee will raise $114 million that, coupled with a $99 million campus commitment and $10 million from the campus-based life safety fee, will allow the $223 million project to commence. Additional revenue from the fee will go toward the operations of the renovated facilities.

One-third of revenue from the fee will be allocated to financial aid for low-income students, as per UC policy.

The plans call for Eshleman Hall to be demolished and replaced with a new, state-of-the-art green building as well as the construction of a permanent multicultural center and the development of other student services.

The election results, however, cannot be made official until a suit alleging that the initiative violated election bylaws is resolved by the Judicial Council. A hearing is scheduled for April 19.

Joseph Guzman, co-chair of the Lower Sproul Student Council, said he looked forward to the project getting under way.

"People have been working on this for 20, 25, 30 years," he said. "In the end we came up with a project that represented the interests of students, and I think everybody can point to it and say that Berkeley will be better off because of it."

Tomer Ovadia of The Daily Californian contributed to this report.

Zach E.J. Williams is the university news editor. Contact him at [email protected]

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