UC Village Tenant Petition for the Remedy of and Compensation from Power Outages

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UC Village residents represent a diverse cross-section of Berkeley students. Many of us are overachievers: Regents Scholars, formerly incarcerated geniuses whose research is changing the way people look at the school to prison pipeline, undergraduates, PhD students, law students, and post-docs who chose Berkeley over Ivy League schools with better funding, not as a matter of principle, but precisely because of its promised services to non-traditional students, student families, and single parents. The University profits from our marginalized identities and our “success stories”. But it has failed to deliver on the services it has promised us, both through advertising and by contract.

 In the past three years, the Village has experienced multiple power outages. Each time there has been a lack of transparency regarding the duration of the outage, leading to spoiled food, lost work time, meals eaten in restaurants due to lack of kitchen access, and a great burden, particularly on student parents. There is deliberate miscommunication between the University and its property management organizations, and deliberate miscommunication to leaseholders. We are told to be more patient, to be grateful for the housing we have, to not assume the worst of a university which was not built for single mothers, for Black women, for poor folks.

During the November 2017 power outage alone, student families have reported the waste of hundreds of dollars of spoiled food due to the failure of the University to either remedy the power outage, provide alternate food storage, or even give an estimated time of power outage. The outage lasted for two days.

This is a failure of the University to not only take responsibility for its own property but also deliver on its contract agreement with University Village residents. For as rent paying individuals, we are most certainly tenants and are in a contract with the University itself.

Furthermore, we contend that this kind of recurring problem would not go without remedy if it were any other UC Berkeley managed housing community-the dorms, I House, any of the grand new developments going up around campus, leaving Village residents to wonder if our (largely marginalized, underrepresented) rent paying community is worth less to UC Berkeley than other student communities in Berkeley housing.

We, the undersigned, respectfully demand the following:

1. An immediate resolution to the repeated power outages impacting our community.

2. Compensation for spoiled food due to the power outage.

3. Direct communication with UC administration (not the village office; not the Student Parent Center) about the state of affairs in the UC Village.

 Thank you for your time!


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