Janet Napolitano approved as next UC president

July 18, 2013 6:27:28 PM PDT
The University of California's governing board has selected the first female president in the history of that college system.

Out-going Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will lead 10 campuses and nearly a quarter of a million students. However, her appointment comes with great controversy.

As expected the issue of immigration made its way into the UC Board of Regents meeting on Thursday, and as Napolitano found out it is a sore issue among many students. In fact, the UC student regent was the only one who voted against her appointment.

UC students were asked to be heard on the appointment of Napolitano as president of the UC system. Within minutes, a small group of them disrupted the regents meeting. Four of them were cited and later released.

Napolitano's appointment has been a controversial issue for many who say, as Secretary of Homeland Security she maintained an aggressive policy of deportation.

"Documented or undocumented we welcome all students to the University of California. We are here, we're in the business of education," she said.

Napolitano is known in political circles as the fixer. Many say it's what the UC system needs.

"She has been a leader in every position she's held," Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom said.

But some critics are concerned she will be less in tune with the UC's long standing vision and values of providing a quality education for all.

Still, the former Arizona governor stressed the need to make the state's universities accessible to its diverse population.

"When you see me in September you will see a new president who is fired with enthusiasm," Napolitano said.

In the past four years Napolitano has had one boss, President Barack Obama. However, now she will have 26 - members of the University of California's governing board.

Napolitano's base salary will be $570,000. That's a lot more than what she makes as Secretary of Homeland Security. Still, it is less than what President Mark Yudof was making.

The regents wanted to make it clear they offered her the same salary as Yudof, but Napolitano refused. In fact, her entire compensation package is nearly 10 percent less than Yudof's.


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