Arrests, Protests at Napolitano’s UC Confirmation Vote over Her Illegal-Immigration Enforcement

by Andrew Johnson

The University of California Board of Regents voted to approve Janet Napolitano as its system’s new president yesterday, but not everybody is happy with her selection. At one point, the vote had to be halted because of demonstrators who opposed the outgoing Homeland Security secretary’s enforcement of illegal-immigration laws.

Six arrests were made and several demonstrators had to be forcibly removed from the UC San Francisco boardroom where the vote took place. According to Reuters, protesters shouted “undocumented is not a crime” and “Shame!” repeatedly, objecting to Napolitano’s stances on detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants, which apparently look, from Berkeley, downright authoritarian.

Since announcing her plans to be UC president, Napolitano’s appointment has raised objections from students, professors, and alumni over her policy stances and her lack of experience in higher education. UC’s student-employees’ union denounced her nomination as representing a “narrow and dystopic vision of what the UC community needs.” A UC Santa Barbara professor declared that “being a political heavyweight is not a qualification for being a university president.”

Meanwhile, Ju Hong, a self-described “proud undocumented UC Berkeley alumnus,” called Napolitano’s pick “offensive” in an op-ed for the Berkeley campus newspaper.

Napolitano, who served as Arizona governor from 2003 to 2009, addressed illegal immigration in her remarks after the confirmation vote. “I would say to those students, documented or undocumented, we welcome all students to the University of California,” she said.