Universities

Our Take: Don’t Let NIMBYs Limit California’s Top Universities

NIMBYism should not be used to destroy the public institutions that are the lifeblood of California’s economy.

Sadly, that’s what’s happening at Berkeley, where a court order freezing enrollment at the University of California’s flagship campus can lead to massive reductions in incoming student admissions and result in more than $50 million in tuition lost.

As reported in the Los Angeles Times and elsewhere, the reduction in freshman and transfer enrollment was a response to an order from an Alameda County Superior Court judge freezing student levels and upholding an action in justice brought by a neighborhood group.

Move a few hundred miles south and UC Santa Barbara faces similar issues. There are plenty of NIMBYs in the Goleta Valley and elsewhere contesting every additional car on the road or any increase in residences. Indeed, the city of Goleta sued UCSB in an effort to compel it to provide more housing on or near campus.

UCSB must find a politically acceptable way to house its future students and grow at a reasonable pace, or one of the region’s key economic engines could find itself in the same predicament as UC Berkeley. UCSB could lock thousands of students into tiny windowless dorms in a gamble on cramming more people into small spaces – but even billionaire Charlie Munger’s controversial dormitory isn’t enough to solve the problem. problem.

Demand for high-profile institutions like UC Berkeley and UCSB is growing, and if the supply of space is artificially limited, these public institutions will become even more expensive and exclusive. This is not good for universities or their surrounding communities.

Communities like San Luis Obispo and nearby Cal Poly have developed development plans that provide housing for students, staff, and faculty. It is a model worth replicating. So is the public-private partnership model that worked for CSU Channel Islands, a university that creatively used land swaps and other means to create enough real estate for expansion.

California needs to find a way to fix its broken environmental rules and recognize the strength of its culture of innovation. This is the only way to have a vibrant economy that looks to the future, not to an idealized version of a past that failed to provide economic opportunity for all.

RIP TO A COMEDY LEGEND

Ivan Reitman brought a unique comedic touch to the films he produced and directed, creating stars of Bill Murray and others with a freewheeling style and a gift for timing.

“Animal House,” “Ghostbusters” and “Stripes” were among the biggest hits associated with the Montecito resident, who died Feb. 13 in Montecito at the age of 75. Reitman never had the kind of community profile that John Cleese, Oprah Winfrey and others have cultivated, preferring the anonymity of life in the Santa Barbara County enclave.

It is true that among comedy directors he did not achieve the recognition that John Hughes, who died in 2009 at the age of 59, obtained with films like “Home Alone”, “The Breakfast Club”, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and others.

But Reitman’s breakthrough as a producer with “Animal House” perfectly captured a conflicted generation, and “Ghostbusters,” seen through another lens, deeply understands America’s fascination with the paranormal.

Condolences to his family and circle of devoted friends.