Kambree Kawahine Koa posted this image:

California built only 1 University since 1980

Has California built only 1 University since 1980?

  • 3
    In the graphic there is an asterisk (*) after "university" with an explanation at the bottom right.
    – DavePhD
    Apr 2, 2017 at 19:11
  • 4
    It's a photography of an artwork by Anne Stevens. The photo is chopping off the rest of the explanation.
    – DavePhD
    Apr 2, 2017 at 19:41
  • 1
    Not technically necessary for an answer, but what I'd love to see in a good answer is a comparison of the number of universities to prisons in other states and countries, and the density of these compared to population, since 1980 and overall. The claim somehow implies that California isn't doing enough for universities, but maybe its already doing more than everybody else?
    – Scrontch
    Apr 3, 2017 at 8:30
  • 1
    @PoloHoleSet Or "has the University of California system, as opposed to the California State University system, only added one campus since 1980?"
    – DavePhD
    Apr 3, 2017 at 15:42
  • 3
    @DavePhD - the beauty of Internet memes so vague you can't really be proven wrong. Apr 3, 2017 at 15:51

1 Answer 1


No, this Huff Post article* which repeats the claim was corrected to say that it considers only University of California system:

Correction: [...] Language has also been amended to indicate that the article is considering the University of California system, and not the California State University system.

The University of California system indeed opened only one new campus since 1980, UC Merced, which started working in 2003-2004:

Faculty members began to arrive in 2003 with graduate students in tow and began setting up research laboratories and programs at UC Merced's ancillary research facility on the former Castle Air Force Base, biding their time until buildings were ready on campus. The first graduate courses began in fall 2004.

But, the California State University program opened another 3 universities in that time:

  • CSUSM:

    1989: Governor George Deukmejian signs Senate Bill 365 into law. The bill officially reconstitutes the SDSU satellite campus as California State University San Marcos — the first comprehensive U.S. university to be founded in two decades, and the 20th campus in the CSU system. Bill W. Stacy is named the university’s first president and is tasked with recruiting 12 founding faculty members.

  • CSUMB:

    Founded in 1994 on the former site of Fort Ord by educators and community leaders, Cal State Monterey Bay faculty and staff build on that legacy as we explore innovative ways to meet the needs of a new generation of students while simultaneously powering the Monterey County economy.

  • CSUCI:

    Established in 2002, we’re the youngest of 23 campuses in the CSU family.

During that time at 7 new community colleges were opened in California:

There are some community colleges which were opened before 1980, but became part of the California Community Colleges system after 1980.

In addition, according to the List of colleges and universities in California wikipedia page 37 private institutions opened since 1980 (of those two have been since closed and one is unaccredited).

* - The original claim seems to come from Business Insider, but appears without any correction or clarification, see here (dated Jun. 13, 2012) and here (dated Apr. 12, 2012)

  • The original claim wasn't by Huffington. Business Insider was more than a year earlier: businessinsider.com/mass-incarceration-of-the-elderly-2012-6
    – DavePhD
    Apr 2, 2017 at 23:11
  • Community colleges are typically not included in the term "university", so while that list is interesting, I don't think it relates to the truth of the claim. Feb 17, 2018 at 2:20
  • At a stretch, you could also exclude CSUSM from the list, as it was turned into a university, not built.
    – bobsburner
    Mar 11, 2020 at 12:09

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