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Recent publications about the situation at Cloyne

Referendum for more time to find solutions

link to sign online portion of referendum. paper signatures were collected on 2/21.


Authored by Samantha Strimling, member of Cloyne Court

This is a petition to allow the full membership of the Berkeley Student Cooperative to determine the appropriate timeline and course of action for the construction of a plan determining the future of Cloyne Court, and the related mitigation of risk for the entire Berkeley Student Cooperative (BSC).

In specific terms: a vote in favor of this referendum is a vote to preclude any action that comprehensively effects, changes, or disrupts the present community at Cloyne Court until a period of at least 30 days after approval of this proposal is officially certified. This 'cooling off' period will allow for a sufficient and complete amount of time to properly discuss and decide the comprehensive specifics of a plan governing the future of Cloyne Court, the BSC, and our organization's diverse community.

In short, this is a referendum to allow the necessary time for our cooperative community to arrive at a cooperative solution to our collective challenges.


Dear BSC Community,

Yesterday a petition for a referendum was submitted, requesting that the vote to change Cloyne’s theme be delayed for 30 days. Per the BSC Referendum Policy, the submission of a valid petition would initiate a referendum in which the entire BSC membership would vote on whether or not to delay the decision regarding Cloyne’s theme for 30 days.

In other words, members who signed the petition yesterday were in fact not signing to delay action for 30 days. They signed to initiate a referendum, which takes a minimum of 35 days to conduct. This referendum, if passed by a majority of the entire BSC membership, would delay the Board’s vote for another 30 days. In total, this would be a delay of at least 65 days.

According to the current timeline, the Board will vote on any changes regarding Cloyne on March 6th. The petition submitted yesterday (February 21st), if validated, would be followed by 7 days for counterproposals to be submitted, and then 28 days for membership-wide voting. By the conclusion of the referendum (likely in early April), the Board would have already determined how the BSC plans to operate Cloyne next year, the Budget would have been set (on March 20th), and contracts for Summer and Fall will have been sent out (during Spring Break). In essence, even if this referendum passes, the decision will have already occurred, and making changes to the Budget and member contracts that have already been offered would be operationally infeasible. As a result, we do not intend to conduct the referendum, as it would have no bearing on the ultimate outcome.

Aside from the timeline issue, there was pertinent information which was not included in the petition and which must be considered when determining whether or not to delay the decision regarding Cloyne. The major motivation for both Cabinet’s and Cloyne’s proposals regarding changes to Cloyne’s operations is that we believe that the organization is currently exposed to an unacceptable level of risk should we continue to operate Cloyne without significant changes. Deciding to delay this decision until after the Budget passes and contracts are sent out effectively waives the BSC’s ability to make any meaningful changes to Cloyne for the 2014-2015 academic year (and thus, the BSC would continue to assume the risk that was the impetus for these changes for at least an additional year).

Ultimately, in order to make any changes to the operations at Cloyne for next year, and to give all current and prospective members the opportunity to be properly informed before submitting their housing preferences, the decision regarding Cloyne must be made prior to the Budget Board Meeting, which will be held on March 20th. Given this information was not included in the petition request, it is likely that members did not understand the ramifications of the delaying the decision, but these issues must be considered when the Board decides whether or not to act this semester.

Despite the temporal infeasibility of the proposed referendum, we understand that the membership may want additional time to discuss and consider the proposals regarding Cloyne. In order to facilitate this, an item will be added to the agenda at the end of the next Board Meeting (on February 27th) to consider extending the timeline and delaying the final vote until March 13th, (which is the farthest we believe we can delay the decision as the Budget must be passed the following week). This will afford an additional week for member discussion and the potential for a General Membership Meeting on the issue, should Board deem it necessary.



[BSC President]

Initial Statement by Cloyne House Manager (Mirit Friedman)

Recently the membership of Cloyne Court was "briefed" with a proposal by the Cabinet of the BSC to: 1) Make Cloyne a substance free house, 2) Make Cloyne an academic themed house and 3) Kick out all current membership and not allow them to return.

The current membership of Cloyne is in the process of discussing said proposal and working on an alternative proposal with the community that would satisfy the Board of Directors as well as the current membership to ensure a successful and prosperous future for the BSC as a whole as well as Cloyne specifically. We (Cloyne) feel that the current proposal on the table inadequately, unfairly, and uncooperatively addresses the situation that the BSC is trying to remedy.

Moving forward Cloyne is seriously considering all of our options and we welcome any comments and feedback. Please ask your questions before making any assumptions or blanket statements as to what the future holds for Cloyne seeing as this is the beautiful home of 150 students, members, and above all, people.

Please send all comments and questions to

The BSC Cabinet proposal is as follows:

Substance-Free Academic Theme House - 2014

Questions? Contact Michelle Nacouzi,

Lawsuit settlement

A change needs to happen now. In similar situations in BSC history (e.g. Barrington, Le Chateau), the Board acted too slowly to prevent serious reprecussions, including:

Outline of the plan

Cabinet - the executive committee of the Board comprised of the President, 6 VPs, and 2 at-large members - is proposing to the Board a response plan to the settlement:

  1. Substance-free
    • No alcohol or drugs on the property
    • A direct response to the liability of drug culture
  2. Academic Theme House
    • Host annual BSC academic lecture
    • Added study rooms & extensive quiet hours
    • No out-of-house parties
  3. Open admittance
    • No entry requirement, but must sign agreement of house rules
  4. Closed for renovations Summer '14
    • More study rooms and new furniture
    • Reduce occupancy to ~140
  5. New Cloyne membership to populate
    • Necessary to create a new space & new culture
  6. House-determined rules

Board will discuss this proposal Thursday Feb. 27, 7pm at Rochdale.

Board will vote March 13th, 7pm at Rochdale.