BERKELEY, Calif. — The pressing need to fund more administrative mansions and football coach salaries has forced the University of California to cut back on non-essential services, such as libraries, graduate students, lecturers, and undergraduate education. In light of growing budget constraints, the University has announced that they will also be shutting down the all-encompassing artificial simulation that we call reality.

“With expenses rising as rapidly as they are, and no increases in state funding forthcoming, it is clear that we can no longer sustain this massively multiplayer simulation of reality,” said University Chancellor and popular non-playable character (NPC) Carol Christ in an in-game message. “We expect to go offline in approximately a month of in-simulation time, at which point all students, faculty, people, and objects in the perceivable universe will cease to exist as you know them. Those of you who are in fact real people will awake within the sealed immersion pods in which we have housed you all of your lives, and upon seeing the world as it truly exists, will be forced to confront the harsh reality that your entire existence up until this point has been a lie. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but this is the only way we can afford the down payment on Michael Drake’s new chalet.”

Some members of the UC student body have expressed excitement about the chancellor’s announcement.

“Hell yeah, I’m so ready to finally escape the Matrix!” said self-described “red-pilled” Philosophy major Joseph Schmo, who is apparently unaware that he is an NPC and will cease to exist following the shutdown of the simulation. “Ever since I read [the Wikipedia article of] Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, I knew that this universe wasn’t real. It boggles my mind that there are so many pre-programmed, unthinking NPCs out there who blindly accept this obvious simulation as ‘reality’. I guess not everyone is built to think outside the box like I am!”

Other students have expressed concerns about what the upcoming shutdown means for their careers.

“Wait—so you’re telling me that the whole ‘Regents Scholar’ thing wasn’t even real???” exclaimed purported ‘Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS)’ major and ‘Regents Scholar’ Adith Kapoor upon hearing the news. “Damn, I spent my entire four years here lording my superiority over all of the non-Regents plebs, especially all of those to-be-unemployed humanities majors, but it turns out that none of our degrees are worth the imaginary paper they’re printed on! What a fucking disaster! I was supposed to have an internship at Google lined up for this summer. Am I even employable anymore??? I put ‘Regents Scholar’ and ‘Berkeley EECS’ on all of my resumes, but do either of those things actually exist??? How am I going to get a computer science job now???”

At press time, Free Peach reporters didn’t have the heart to tell Kapoor that ‘computer science’ isn’t a real thing.

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