Readers React: The difference between Berkeley and other UCs

Re “Patt Morrison Asks: Janet Napolitano,” Opinion, April 30

Patt Morrison asked University of California President Janet Napolitano a great question but failed to follow up with the natural response to her answer: “You don’t really mean that, do you?”

Morrison asked her:

“But shouldn’t California students have first shot at the campus they want? You can’t be arguing that a UC Merced degree means as much out in the world as a Berkeley degree?”

Napolitano’s answer:

“I would differ with that. It depends on where in the world you are and what field you’re in. In most states each [UC campus] would be the flagship university.”


As everyone knows, Napolitano’s response is pure politics. Telling a prospective employer in California that you graduated from UC Merced doesn’t have the same effect as saying you graduated from Berkeley.

Even if I were a college grad applying for a job in Vermont or New Hampshire, employers there would know the difference between Berkeley and a campus that most likely they’d never heard of. (“Merced? What’s that?”)

John Reiner

Los Angeles