I sure hope Janet Napolitano doesn't think she's running for office again, because her tenure in California as UC President has been an absolute disaster, and tonight she sealed her fate when she walked out on student protesters, calling their claims 'crap.'
“Let’s go. We don’t have to listen to this crap.”
That was the reaction of University of California Janet Napolitano, captured on video, when a few dozen student protesters got loud at Wednesday’s meeting of the UC regents in San Francisco.
Ronald Reagan couldn't have done it any better.
UC students have been protesting for months over Napolitano's resolve to raise UC Tuition 25 percent over the next five years.
Here's the backstory: Governor Jerry Brown has increased funding for UC campuses, but not enough for Napolitano's liking.
Napolitano says UC needs more state money to maintain quality at the premier public university. Beyond the tuition increases, Napolitano has said she will bar the door to any additional in-state students at UC next year if the state money is withheld.
UC President Janet Napolitano introduced the policy as a five-year plan for predictable tuition increases. Essentially, tuition and systemwide fees will increase by up to 5 percent per year for all students, assuming the state increases its funding to the university at 4 percent increases each year.
This brings 2015-16 in-state systemwide fees to $12,804 from $12,192. In the hypothetical situation that the state continues the increases for the next five years, in-state systemwide fees could be $15,564 in 2019-20.
But there could be no tuition increase — or less of a tuition increase — if the state provides more than those percentage increases. Conversely, there could be higher increases if the state provides increases at a lower level than expected.
Over the past three years, University of California campuses have seen admissions skyrocket without room to even house the students. Chancellors at individual campuses are paid between $410-450,000 per year. There's money for campus-specific police with riot gear trained to put down student protests. There isn't money for adjunct faculty or teaching assistants, but somehow they over-admit students every year so that there's an acute housing shortage and battle for classes.
Raising tuition won't change any of those things. The only thing raising tuition will do is open the door for more in-state students, by opening slots currently reserved for the higher-paying out-of-state students.
This is not the public university system our state put into place back in the days of the Master Plan for Higher Education. Ronald Reagan destroyed that one. 30 years later our students are locked in a struggle to complete their education without a sea of debt.
Those concerns are not crap. They're legitimate, and our students have the right to voice them even if she doesn't care for the way they do it. Maybe if Janet Napolitano had bothered to listen to them instead of dismissing them as crap, she could have learned something.
Instead, she instructed students that the President of their university system doesn't give a damn about what they think or how they struggle. I think it's time for Californians to demand her resignation and bring in a chancellor who doesn't behave like a dictator.
As for any political aspirations she might have had, she should hang them up. She's done in this state.