Lease-Renewal Process Begins for Cloyne Co-op

Wendy Lee is a staff writer and Amelia Heagerty is a contributing writer for The Daily Californian.





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A live-in "house mom" may soon govern the co-op known to many UC Berkeley students for its naked relay races and pot cookies.

Cloyne Court, which houses 151 UC Berkeley students and is the largest university co-op, may undergo major policy changes if the University Students' Cooperative Association Board accepts a proposal drafted by UC Berkeley officials as part of an early lease-renewal agreement.

If the co-op board members approve the proposal, the university would require the association to hire a non-student staff facility manager to live in the building with residents and supervise.

The cost of hiring a new facility manager would increase rent for all association members but not "significantly," said George Proper, general manager of the University Students' Cooperative Association.

Cloyne Court residents would also be required to keep the building up to university neatness standards with inspections twice a semester and once every summer.

Should the building not meet cleanliness requirements, Cloyne Court would have to hire an outside party to maintain the building for them, said UC Berkeley official Jacqueline Bernier, a member of the committee that drafted the lease agreement.

The co-op board-composed of 35 UC Berkeley students and three non-students-plans to decide tomorrow whether or not they will approve the changes.

UC Berkeley's Executive Campus Planning Committee met yesterday to discuss the renewal of Cloyne Court's lease. Members of the committee include Chancellor Robert Berdahl, several vice chancellors, and department deans and professors.

"It's hard for a student to tell another student what to do," Bernier said. "(The facility manager) has more authority and will report to the co-op board, not just the students in the house."

Last renewed in 1985, the lease was scheduled to come up for renewal in 2005. But the cooperative association requested a lease renewal in May in order to allow building improvement projects to start this year.

Planned improvement projects for the co-op include seismic retrofitting and general upkeep.

Many residents of the co-op adamantly oppose the university's proposed changes, calling the non-student supervisor an "unnecessary watchdog."

"It's like the '50s when the people had chaperones and dorm mothers," said UC Berkeley sophomore Tina Sang, a resident of Cloyne Court. "It's not that crazy at Cloyne. I don't know why they need this policy."

Michael Olin, director of the cooperative housing association, invited university officials to visit Cloyne Court Friday, saying he hoped the visit would expel "misconceptions" regarding cooperative living and its tenants.

"By inviting the university, we want to show them we are a bunch of hardworking students, that the house is functional, and we love where we live," Olin said.

Some Cloyne Court residents, who wished to remain anonymous, said they had cleaned the house before university officials arrived. Students completed extra work shifts in order to pick up beer bottles and paint over graffiti, some residents said.

Cloyne Court is home to such traditions as naked relay races and pot cookies, which are served at some house meetings, some residents said.

But Olin said the stereotypes of the co-op's residents as "slackers" and drug users are "largely unfounded."

If the proposal is accepted, Cloyne Court would be the second co-op after Rochdale apartments to have a non-student staff facility member.

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