Updated: Special SHORTER EDITION of UC Berkeley's latest environmental impact report is released!

Doug Buckwald
Saturday May 11, 2019 - 11:04:00 PM

You may already know that UC Berkeley is in the planning stage for a large new development at Hearst Avenue and La Loma Avenue, in the northeast corner of campus. The Campus is also attempting to justify its current enrollment of 42,519 full-time students, which is 44% over the baseline 1998 campus enrollment -- far over the anticipated 13% increase stipulated in the University's 2020 Long Range Development Plan (LRDP). 

The UC Capital Projects office has released the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (FSEIR) for this project. This final report includes the University's responses to the hundreds of individuals in the community and the Berkeley City government who submitted comments about the proposal. 

For readers who may not have time to read the complete environmental impact report, here is the abridged version (with some unnecessary content and technical data omitted): 


UC Regents  

Upper Hearst Project Final SEIR 

Page 1 of 1 



Upper Hearst Development for the Goldman School of Public Policy 

Hearst Avenue and La Loma Avenue, Berkeley, CA 

Section 1.0 Environmental Impacts and Mitigations 

Careful examination has led the University to set a new standard for evaluating the environmental impacts resulting from the unprecedented campus population growth and the major construction projects planned for Upper Hearst: 

There are no environmental impacts because there is no longer an environment. We own everything. 

Section 2.0 Campus Enrollment 

The University acknowledges that it went far over its original campus population projections. Our solution is to designate the wildly-inflated new enrollment figure as the revised "baseline" for campus enrollment: 42,519 full-time students. This will allow us to increase our enrollment to 45,000 students -- or even 50,000 students -- in the near future without any additional environmental review.  

The University wants the public to understand that this increase came as a big surprise to us because we have no discretion or control over population growth. This is simply a biological fact of life according to researchers in our Cell & Developmental Biology Department. Further questions about this issue should be directed to this Department. 

Section 3.0 Responses to Questions and Comments from the Public 

The answer to all questions and comments is: NO. 

Section 4.0 A Message from the Regents 

The Regents of the University of California wish to express their gratitude to City officials and community members in Berkeley for their invaluable participation in this broad and inclusive effort to ensure that all stakeholders' views are heard and incorporated into the final project design.  

We pledge to continue to work closely with the City and its residents to enhance the trust and goodwill that form the basis of our successful cooperation. We will all be able to take great pride in the final result of this process: the creation of high-quality new facilities that will attract even greater numbers of students to our ever-growing campus.  

Because housing will remain scarce for the foreseeable future, the University would appreciate it if as many current Berkeley residents as possible would move out of their homes and apartments so that their living spaces can be turned over this fall to our new incoming students.  

Also, before you depart, please make sure that your residence is fully stocked with food and household supplies, and that you have provided a reliable means of transportation. Remember that most of our new students will be coming here from out of state, so they will be unable to bring these things with them. We should all strive to be good hosts, as these new students are truly honored guests in our community.  

Plus, because each out-of-state student pays much higher tuition and fees, each one represents more money for the University to address our severe structural debt problems resulting from the ill-advised reconstruction of Memorial Stadium and the athletic training center right on top of the Hayward Fault. What were we thinking? 

Taking into account the debt servicing for these projects, the total expenditures could approach more than $1,000,000,000 (that is, $1 billion). Gosh! Perhaps we should declare 50,000 as the new enrollment baseline and expand upwards from there. What noticeable difference could 30,000 or 40,000 additional new students make? 


Note: The article above is meant to be humorous, but the issue is serious. 

There is still time to submit comments to the UC Regents about the proposed Upper Hearst construction projects and the proposed increase in campus baseline population. However, the meeting where the Regents will consider these items will take place this week from May 14 - 16, so you need to do this very soon. 

How to submit remarks by email: 

1) The email address to submit these comments is: regentsoffice@ucop.edu.  

2) Put this phrase in your subject line: Upper Hearst Project, UC Berkeley 

3) Even a brief note expressing your opinion is fine. 

4) If you want to make sure that your comments will be forwarded to the Regents before the meeting begins, you must submit them before 2 PM on Monday, May 13. 

5) If you want to make sure that your comments will be part of the official record, you should submit them as soon as possible and not after 9 AM on Thursday, May 16

How to make oral comments during the Regents meeting: 

There will be two public comment periods: 

a) Wednesday, May 15, beginning at 8:30 AM and  

b) Thursday, May 16, beginning at approximately 9 AM or 10 AM (depending on when the Regents' closed session ends). 

If you plan to speak, you should call Anne Shaw at (510) 987-9302 and sign up in advance. There are already a number of people on the speaker's list, so do this as soon as possible. Anne Shaw is the Secretary and Chief of Staff to the Regents. 

For further information about written or oral comments, here is a link to the Regents' website: