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Chemistry College May Close

Because of budget problems, the University of California, Berkeley, is considering shuttering its College of Chemistry, ScienceInsider reports.

The school is dealing with some $150 million in debt, it notes, largely due to flat tuition income and rising costs. The student-run Daily Californian adds that the College of Chemistry, which was established in 1872, would be incorporated into other colleges, though campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof says its dissolution is just one possible option for handling the deficit.

"This is just a bad idea," senior Jonathan Melville, who created a petition asking the administration to abandon the plan, tells the Daily Californian. "The College of Chemistry is vital to the academic prestige of Berkeley, and it's a cornerstone of Berkeley's historical scientific prowess."

The petition has garnered more than 3,000 signatures.

One of the signatories, ScienceInsider notes, is Carolyn Bertozzi, a chemist who recently moved from Berkeley to Stanford University. "UC [Berkeley] College of Chemistry has impacted the chemical sciences, indeed the world, more than any counterpart at any other institution. Dismantling this paragon of excellence is only a good idea if you are at Stanford!" she writes at the petition site.