The Daily Californian Online

Too Close to Home

By Senior Editorial Board
Daily Cal Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Category: Opinion > Editorials

Dozens of student parents and their families at UC Berkeley are currently facing the possibility that, for them, there's no place for home. While financial aid funds remain immobile, students may have to move.

Due to delays in distributing financial aid, some students are facing eviction notices from their campus-owned homes in either the Smyth Fernwald Complex or University Village. This situation is unacceptable and absurd, and it makes us question Chancellor Robert Birgeneau's claim that this campus is prioritizing accessibility to lower-income students.

This is not the students' fault. They were approved for financial aid after filling out and filing the proper paperwork. This is not a result of fewer funds for financial aid. The campus has the money at its disposal. No, financial aid allocation has simply been delayed due to glitches in the campus computer software.

As we have said before, we are sympathetic towards the campus's financial aid office, which is now handling more requests with considerably fewer staff members. Yet no matter the budget reality for this office and the campus, allocating aid for students who depend on it for their education or livelihood is a fundamental duty that should never be compromised.

For a campus that has one of the best computer science programs in the country, the malfunctioning software for a seemingly straightforward service is ridiculous in its ongoing problems. Even more tragic is the fact that the financial aid office could not coordinate with these campus-owned housing sites to extend rent deadlines for affected students who bear no blame in the delay.

With such a blatant contradiction of the campus's stated priority to access, Chancellor Birgeneau should release a statement to address the issues and ensure that these students do not lose their homes. Frankly, it is troubling that no one in the administration publicly assured the campus community that the unprocessed funds will actually be given to students so they can pay their bills.

These delays should have never led to eviction notices. It's time for those in charge to take responsibility.

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