Aug 26, 2016

On Thursday, UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks announced that the proposed Berkeley Global Campus has been suspended indefinitely due to UC Berkeley’s budget deficit, according to the East Bay Times and Daily Californian.

Dirks made the announcement during a meeting with a group of Richmond community representatives at UC Berkeley. The meeting was initially intended to be a discussion on how the local community might benefit from the $3 billion international research facility, which was set to be located on a 130-acre property in Richmond Bay.

But Dirks, who recently announced he was stepping down amid criticism over UC Berkeley’s finances, said the budgetary problems meant an indefinite suspension of the Berkeley Global Campus plans.

“We realized we had a great idea but weren’t sure how we were going to get the funding,” Dirks said at Thursday’s meeting, according to the Daily Californian.

Dirks also reportedly said the school would “explore other options” for the Richmond Bay site, including projects that would promote increased enrollment at UC Berkeley and housing, or even inviting an anchor tenant like Google to move in, according to the East Bay Times.


  1. More likely a response to the shake-down by Richmond organizations that threatened lawsuits if UCB didn’t give them a bunch of money simply for existing.

    bill | Aug 26th, 2016
  2. Prime example how RPA behavior towards private enterprises kills any meaningful future for Richmond.
    They wanted to extort money even before the project started, like they are trying now from the housing providers with Measure L (rent control)
    Don’t give majority to RPA on the City Council, don’t vote for any of their candidates.

    mike rose | Aug 26th, 2016
  3. This is not a surprise. The highest paid person on the California Payroll is the UC Football coach. The priorities of where the money goes is obvious. It isn’t about education, or students. Keep it in perspective. Remember the coach makes more than the Governor, the chancellor, or any of the professors.

    ellen | Aug 26th, 2016
  4. How do you plan a $3B project without having *some* kind of idea as to how you’re going to pay for it?

    Tom J | Aug 26th, 2016
  5. I believe they had the money to start at one time, then Congress axed it. Dirks then tried to keep the project going by seeking alternative funding.
    I agree with Bill, no doubt the prospect of the “Hands Out Richmond Coalition” showing at your door “peacefully protesting” and/or a RPA council majority had the investors lining up at the door…what a shame.

    Richmond Resident | Aug 26th, 2016
  6. Funny how they find $millions$ for Chancellor’s residence renovations but can’t bother to do basic financial planning before creating false hope for a whole city. By the way, why was the meeting closed to the public if they allowed reporters to attend?

    Richmond Resident | Aug 26th, 2016
  7. As previously noted, there was federal money initially for the project, which Congress cut. They tried to continue on and raise money for a Global Campus. I think this was Dirks baby, and with him resigning the project looks quite dead.
    No doubt as others have already noted, the RPA freeloader crowd couldn’t have helped. I think some of the trouble Dirks is in is due to a $700,000 exit door he had installed because of the RPA freeloader protests at his office.

    Commenter | Aug 26th, 2016
  8. Congratulations RPA, ACCE, CISCO, Raise up Richmond and all the other little insignificant disruptive politicians in this city, you have been effectively kicked to curve by the state and federal governmentsfor time being. Hope you are happy now that you have accelerated the bankruptcy process for the entire city with your insignificant demands and unreasonable tactics. Keep in mind that Richmond needed them, they do not need Richmond.

    tired of the incompetence | Aug 26th, 2016
  9. It is extremely unfortunate that the UC Berkeley Global Campus project has stalled. Lack of funding and the departure of the Chancellor, who initiated the project, were primarily responsible. However, we should be encouraged that Richmond City Manager Bill Lindsay is confident that this suspension is by no means a death sentence for either the project or the university’s support of the partnerships forged in the two-year process to create a community benefits agreement.
    Nonetheless, Mayor Tom Butt seems so desperate to find an issue he can use to defeat RPA-supported candidates in November that he has made one up out of whole cloth: He is broadly spreading the lie that the Richmond Progressive Alliance was responsible for killing the project.
    Richmond deserves economic development that meets its residents’ needs: good jobs, housing, and educational opportunities. We have no use for deceitful scapegoating, divisiveness, and the unnecessary fights that Mayor Butt seems compelled to pick with Richmond progressives for the sole purpose of dividing the community through misinformation and innuendo. It is reprehensible that Richmond’s mayor is failing to provide the leadership our city needs to find ways for the community to work together in response to the suspension of the Global Campus project.

    Janet Johnson | Aug 28th, 2016
  10. Scapgoating the RPA? Although I don’t always agree with the Mayor, this time he is correct. The RPA (and their surrogates) have been nothing but disruptive, devisive, unreasonable, and incompetent since being in office. The RPA and affiliates began the campus smear campaign over 2 years ago with gentrification and housing fear tactics and their demands have not ceased. They lack any undestanding of give and take, negotiating, partnering, or good business practices, which is demonstrated by the state of this city. Attend council meetings sometimes where their incompetence is on full deplay. As a resident of this city I can say fulheartly they do not represent me. Progressives they are not, they are only extremist concerned with power and control, which makes them extremely dangerous. l really hope the voters do not vote for any RPA candidates in November or we will get more same mess because they would have amajority and override anything positive for this city as they currently do.

    tired of the incompetence | Aug 29th, 2016
  11. Scapegoating? Lying? Is the spokesman for the Global Campus a liar also? He backs up what the Mayor is saying. Isn’t the more likely that the RPA is WRONG on this issue? And why is it that the RPA can never admit to making any mistakes ever? That’s disturbing behaviour.
    From the East Bay Times;

    Ruben Lizardo, a spokesman for the Berkeley Global Campus, said he understood concerns about fair pay and using union labor but said the University of California already had many similar provisions in place, including a plan to pay even the lowest-skilled workers $15 an hour and use local workers. And he agreed with the mayor that negative comments about the project, including fears that it would hasten gentrification, had made it more difficult for the university to pursue this project.

    “When you have a lot of negative press about folks who are saying the project will have a negative impact, it sends a mixed message to potential investors and gives pause to any university interested in partnering with us,” Lizardo said.

    There you have it folks. You have a project shelved, and a spokesperson backing up Mayor Butts statement. It’s quite obvious to me who is painting the more accurate picture of the situation.

    Richmond Resident | Aug 29th, 2016
  12. “deceitful scapegoating, divisiveness, and the unnecessary fights”
    All of these more accurately describe the actions of the RPA than that of the Mayor. As a wise man once said, ” You hypocrite! First remove the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

    Richmond Resident | Aug 29th, 2016
  13. Where is/was the RPA when Amazon announced their 225K sw. ft lease for a distribution center? Or were they paid off in advance?

    Tom | Aug 30th, 2016
  14. Thank you RPA for another disaster brought on by your left-wing politics. Thanks for nothing. Now you want to destroy us with rent control which will only make the housing worse. We gotta get you guys OFF of the council. I can’t believe I voted for you.

    Sandra Davenport | Sep 8th, 2016

About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.