Letters to the Editor: Berkeley NIMBYs to high schoolers: We got ours, so go away

Students walk past Sather Gate at UC Berkeley.
Students walk past Sather Gate at UC Berkeley in 2017. A court order requires the university to cap enrollment at 2020-21 levels.
(Ben Margot / Associated Press)

To the editor: Thanks to Anita Chabria for her column on a California appeals court’s outrageous decision to uphold a freeze of UC Berkeley’s enrollment. The court held that the university did not show it “would suffer irreparable harm outweighing the harm that would be suffered by the other party.”

How callous and shortsighted. These judges weigh the rights of a few property owners as much more important than the shattered dreams of thousands of high school seniors who will now no longer be able to go to California’s flagship public university.

These youth cannot simply wait a few years for an environmental impact report to be rewritten. Their lives will go on. They may find other schools, perhaps out of state. California will lose many of these brilliant students who could have been our innovators of the future.


These seniors — whose last normal non-pandemic year of high school was their freshman year — will have another door slammed in their faces. How sad. I hope our governor and legislators act quickly to correct this before acceptance letters go out in March.

Elizabeth Fagan, Pasadena


To the editor: Critics of the Berkeley residents suing over the university’s expansion are dead wrong about the cap on enrollment at UC Berkeley. The number of students admitted is decided by the university, and now it chooses to enroll large numbers of foreign and out-of-state students because they pay more.

UC Berkeley can decide to enroll more California students if it chooses to do so, so the cap will not alter the number of freshmen from California if the university chooses to enroll more.

Right now, more than 45,000 students are enrolled at UC Berkeley, and there is a severe housing shortage for everyone. A cap is necessary to challenge the university’s greed in enrolling foreign and out-of-state students, and more students than it can house.

Californians support UC Berkeley, and UC Berkeley can admit more Californians.

Margot Smith, Berkeley



To the editor: Abuse of the California Environmental Quality Act has got to stop.

The state of California is about to turn down 3,000 new students to one of our flagship universities because some NIMBY homeowners don’t want to deal with density. California is a wonderful, amazing, creative, thriving place because we have historically brought in people from all over the world while also developing home-grown talent.

By ripping that ladder away from potential students at UC Berkeley, what are we giving up? Future tech leaders, doctors, writers, artists — all so some homeowners can keep their suburban dreams alive.

This is generational warfare. We have to stop letting this happen.

Support dense housing, support public transportation, and support keeping the American and California dream alive for people who weren’t lucky enough to have been born 50 years ago to afford a house.

Heather Johnson, Los Angeles