If by now you haven’t heard about former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano’s appointment to the position of UC President, we don’t blame you. Most of the decision-making toward appointing Napolitano to this post has taken place during the summer when students aren’t consistently gathered at school (which seems a little shady if you ask us) and partly because some of you are freshmen.
Nonetheless, the former Secretary’s appointment has been met with outcry and action from students opposing this decision. As an editorial board, we could not ignore the voices of our fellow UC students on this matter.
Pragmatically speaking, we believe that an outright removal of Napolitano from this position is highly unlikely. With that being said, it is necessary to address her experience and the lack thereof as she comes into this position and assess what steps she can take to satiate the concerns of students throughout the system.
Before she was given the opportunity to lead the biggest public university system in the nation, Napolitano served as Governor of Arizona and Secretary of Homeland Security under the Obama administration. During her time as Governor, Napolitano was a proponent of education reform even though she lacked experience as an educator. In her term as Secretary, she oversaw a record number of deportations — including the deportation of many undocumented students, putting into question whether she will promote a safe space for the DREAM community in the UC system.
Undocumented and documented students, student organizations and student governments have publically expressed disapproval of this appointment, organizing their voice in a collective call for action. Dozens of organizations supported a list of demands addressed to the incoming UC President, asking her to follow these measures in order to make the UC a “sanctuary” for all students. The demands outline actions that Napolitano can take toward making UC campuses a safer space for undocumented students and calls for a limitation on escalated police force in student protests and acts of civil disobedience.
Our student government has led the way in putting words into action by being the first UC student government to approve of a vote of no confidence and approve the list of demands addressed to Napolitano. The New University Editorial Board commends ASUCI’s leaders for being proactive in addressing the students’ concerns.
The list of demands authored by concerned UC students is a productive way to challenge Napolitano. We at the New University express our full support and approval of these demands. In order to maintain a peaceful and productive school system, it is imperative that students at every UC continue to be vocal in their opinions of our new UC President. We find ourselves between a rock and a hard place; our inability to change the past does not require we surrender, nor that we wage war — it requires merely a watchful gaze and the vigilant voice of accountability.