Education

Everybody hates Janet: Napolitano confirmed amid student protests

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Robby Soave Reporter
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Some students and professors expressed disappointment with the selection of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who was recently confirmed as the next president of the University of California.

Students who support relaxing immigration laws — or are in the country illegally themselves — launched a failed petition calling on UC Regents to reject Napolitano, who authorized the deportation of over a million immigrants. They also protested Thursday afternoon at Napolitano’s confirmation hearing.

“Secretary Napolitano is the architect of the deportation machine that has resulted in over 1.5 million deportations during President Obama’s tenure,” said the petition. “She has no expertise in higher education, only in family separation, and no place in our public university system.”

Several student demonstrators were handcuffed and forcibly removed from the meeting, where the UC Regents voted to confirm Napolitano.

Liberal students aren’t the only ones opposed to Napolitano’s presidency. A leading conservative scholar lambasted the choice of a partisan member of President Obama’s inner circle with no experience managing a university.

“She has neither qualifications nor experience for running an academic institution,” said John Ellis, president of the California Association of Scholars, in an interview with The College Fix. “As many polls show, the California public is very concerned about the politicization of UC classrooms. Instead of being mindful of that problem, the regents have just made it very much worse: they have invited a nationally prominent political figure to head the university.”

Even some UC faculty members agreed that the selection was too political.

“Are we turning into more of a political entity, something that’s kicked around within the framework of partisan politics?” asked William Drummond, a professor at UC-Berkeley’s School of Journalism. “That’s the uncertainty about what this means.”

Other professors cited Napolitano’s inexperience as grounds to oppose her nomination.

“Ms. Napolitano has no experience with university life or management and no known body of organized thought on the subject,” said Christopher Newfield, a professor at UC-Santa Barbara and higher education policy expert, in a statement to The Sacramento Bee. “Being a political heavyweight is not a qualification for being a university president. Earning President Obama’s trust is not a qualification.”

Despite the concerns over her inexperience and partisanship, the regents confirmed Napolitano on Thursday. She will make $570,000 a year.

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