Letters to the Editor: Don't think there's a housing crisis? Look at the UC strike

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 28: University of California academic workers strike walking the picket line on the Campus of the University of California, Los Angeles on Monday, Nov. 28, 2022 in Los Angeles, CA. As the nation's largest ever strike of higher-education academic workers enters its third week Monday, with the crunch time of final exams just days away, fears are rising over long-lasting and unintended consequences to the University of California's core missions of teaching and research. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
Academic workers walk the picket line at UCLA on Nov. 28. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: The strike by graduate student researchers and instructors at the University of California is an extension of the state's housing crisis. ("Fears rise that UC strike could have long-lasting consequences on vaunted research, teaching," Nov. 28)

Rent-burdened grad students have been forced to shut down much of the teaching and researching at our most prominent universities because their basic expenses can't be met with their salaries, with housing as the largest item in their budgets. Now progress in multiple fields is threatened because research is being held up.

Thriving cities require people at all income levels to be able to live in them. We need more dense housing in every neighborhood, with the most affordable units we can squeeze out of each development. We need much of that housing near well-funded interconnected transit systems and bike networks.

And we need to ignore the minority opinions of homeowners who fight every zoning change as if cheaper housing, gentle density and less car-centric cities would create a hellscape. In fact, for people who struggle to make rent, live in overcrowded conditions or don't have housing at all, this is the hellscape.

Nancy Matson, Los Angeles

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To the editor: I am flabbergasted at the argument that striking graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the UC system might be harming the quality of education and research in our state.

Graduate students and postdoctoral researchers are the engines for scientific research, and without them, the whole system grinds to a halt. Their strike provides hope for continued research success.

Many of us in the research community know that excellent research happens when the scientific laborers receive a living wage and have the support of safe and fair working conditions.

Terry McGlynn, Pasadena

The writer is a professor of biology at Cal State Dominguez Hills.

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To the editor: Some of the money to pay UC's essential academic workers is already there. Just dismantle the interscholastic sports teams and sell off the massive stadiums and playing fields.

Here is an example of the problem: Last August, The Times reported that UCLA's football coaches "will make a record $10,172,500 in salary and bonuses" in 2022.

Add other sports teams and the programs of other UC campuses, and you have some of the money to finance the strikers' demands, and maybe even reduce the rising cost of tuition for all students.

American interscholastic sports are unique in the world. There is no Sorbonne soccer team that plays those from other schools, and no one is suggesting there should be one.

Jim Mamer, San Diego

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.