University of California President Janet Napolitano apologized Thursday for calling Wednesday’s student protests “crap,” a remark caught on the meeting’s live stream.
Students and some East Bay community members Wednesday protested the University’s tuition hike proposal and called for the University to sign a community benefits agreement when developing the UC’s new campus planned for Richmond. Students stripped off their clothes and threw money in the air to symbolize what they see as the University’s privatization and its negative effects on students.
While the protest was going on, Napolitano was heard on the live stream talking to UC Board of Regents Chair Bruce Varner. She eventually exited the room along with several other regents.
“Let’s go. We don’t have to listen to this crap,” Napolitano said to Varner.
Napolitano apologized for the remark, saying she takes protests against the University’s proposal to potentially increase tuition by up to 5 percent annually for the next five years seriously.
“I was caught on mic with a word that was unfortunate,” she said before the public comment session Thursday. “(Tuition) is serious work to be taken seriously.”
The board also discussed the following:
- The Committee on Educational Policy approved expanding a nonresident tuition waiver to certain veterans to comply with the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014. The act withdraws federal funding under the Post-9/11 GI Bill from any public university that does not provide in-state tuition to recently discharged veterans and eligible dependents. Less than 300 GI Bill recipients at the UC are nonresidents, although the University said it is not sure how many additional veterans and their relatives will apply because of this change. University Provost Aimée Dorr told the board that as active duty service members relocate around the country, it can be hard for them to establish residency in California. The committee also heard updates from Vice President of Student Affairs Judy Sakaki on the University’s treatment of its veterans.
- The Committee on Oversight of the Department of Energy Laboratories heard updates from officials at several Department of Energy’s National Laboratories the University operates. The board also discussed the potential settlement of the $36.6 million fine the New Mexico Environment Department imposed on the Department of Energy and Los Alamos National Security, LLC. for mishandling hazardous waste.
- The board heard from several public commenters from Fossil Free UC, an organization calling for the University to divest from companies that extract fossil fuel.
Compiled by Jeong Park, Bruin senior staff.