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Napolitano Confirmed as Next UC President

Jul 18, 2013

Janet Napolitano (file photo)
Credit Janet Napolitano / DHS

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will be the first female president of the University of California system. But it’s her experience with the federal government that had students talking at her confirmation hearing. Katie Orr reports from San Francisco.

The afternoon started with a few UC students and staff protesting outside of the Board of Regents meeting in San Francisco. They were concerned Napolitano’s experience running the Homeland Security Department would lead to the deportation of undocumented students.

The intensity of the protests grew once the confirmation hearing began. Student chants became louder and more frequent as the meeting went on. Eventually the meeting was stopped, the room was cleared and the students were warned to leave or be arrested. Four students locked arms and continued to chant as the police formed a circle around them and the media looked on.

The four students were eventually handcuffed and led out of the room. A short time later the meeting resumed and Napolitano was confirmed.

In a post confirmation press conference she stressed she would be an advocate for undocumented students, not a threat to them. She also answered criticism that she lacks experience in the academic world. She acknowledged she’s an untraditional choice but says she’ll bring a lot to the job.

“As someone who has a long history of managing big, complex institutions and as someone who is really passionate about higher education,” said Napolitano.

Napolitano will earn a base salary of $570,000. She will begin at the end of September.