UC system not considering a new San Francisco campus

Mayor London Breed speaking about the San Francisco Reproductive Freedom Act
Mayor London Breed speaking about the San Francisco Reproductive Freedom Act at Planned Parenthood in San Francisco on Tuesday, June 18, 2024.Craig Lee/The Examiner

The University of California is not currently considering putting any new campuses or facilities in San Francisco despite the mayor’s invitation for it to do so, the statewide system’s Office of the President said this week.

The announcement put a damper on the hopes of Mayor London Breed, who has repeatedly cited her administration’s efforts to get the UC system and other educational institutions to explore locating academic campuses, offices and student housing downtown, where vacant space has proliferated in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The news comes as the university system’s budget is up for negotiation, and Gov. Gavin Newsom has recommended a decrease in spending.

“Given the outlook for state appropriations and the financial capacity of our campuses, the University is not considering establishing any new campuses or other new facilities in the City of San Francisco at this time,” said Rachel Zaentz, a senior media-relations officer in the UC’s Office of the President, in an email.

Zaentz’s message, however, did not close the door on something happening in The City in the future, and said the University of California is “grateful for Mayor Breed’s ongoing efforts to support San Francisco’s vibrant downtown and neighborhoods.”

Breed’s office said it will continue to engage with the University of California about downtown.

“This is a long-term effort, and we will continue to engage with UC on opportunities that arise for them to participate in the future of Downtown,” a statement read.

Her office also cited efforts to recruit ventures from other educational institutions, notably a satellite operation involving historically Black colleges and universities. The mayor has said such a learning center could help revitalize a languishing downtown that has suffered from record office vacancies and a relatively low number of employees regularly going into offices since remote work exploded in response to the pandemic.

This week, The City welcomed 60 students — primarily undergraduates from 20 HBCUs — for six weeks as part of Breed’s Black 2 San Francisco program, which is managed by the San Francisco Human Rights Commission.

Participants came from Tuskegee University, Morris Brown College, Clark Atlanta University, Howard University School of Law and other schools.

Breed and City Attorney David Chiu sent a letter last year to Richard Leib, chair of the UC Board of Regents, touting “an exciting opportunity to establish a new San Francisco campus in the City’s downtown corridor.”

The letter declared that multiple properties could house a mixed-use UC campus, complete with student housing, classrooms, lab space and student services. Bringing students to San Francisco could expose them to venture capitalists and experts in companies in cutting-edge sectors like artificial intelligence and biotechnology, it said.

The university system has already invested heavily in San Francisco operations, with April marking the groundbreaking for UCSF’s $4.3 billion Helen Diller Hospital in Parnassus Heights. UC Law has also built classrooms and student housing in the Tenderloin in recent years.

Source: https://www.sfexaminer.com/news/the-city/university-of-california-not-mulling-san-francisco-campus/article_0adabb2c-2e73-11ef-bd13-639b42170e24.html

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