UC Santa Cruz Chancellor George Blumenthal chose to grant students, staff, faculty and community members an additional 45 days to voice concerns regarding the draft environmental impact report (EIR) for Student Housing West (SHW).
SHW, a housing project set to bring an additional 3,000 beds to campus, has dominated campus debate for over a year. The comment period, which originally lasted 45 days and was set to end May 11, now ends June 27.
“The discussion of this project has been so animated that I have made the decision […] to extend, by another 45 days, the comment period on Student Housing West,” Blumenthal said May 14 during a Q&A session with members of Student Media. “[…] The campus deserves to have the conversation about what all of the options are.”
Chancellor Blumenthal and Campus Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor Marlene Tromp announced the reopening of the EIR comment period to the student body in a campus-wide email sent Tuesday. Blumenthal and Tromp credited the decision to the high level of campus engagement in the debate — over 200 comments had been received as of May 1.
Blumenthal also stressed the importance of more fully analyzing project alternatives and providing more opportunity to reach a consensus that could alleviate concerns regarding both overcrowding and housing costs.
Administrators will be releasing digital information, particularly regarding cost, and offer an additional two public comment forums on June 6 and 7. Presenting the project to the Board of Regents has been postponed to an undecided date and the project’s overall timeline will inevitably shift.