UC president announces resignation
Janet Napolitano, the 20th president of the University of California, announced her resignation Wednesday during a UC regents meeting at UCLA.
By the time she leaves the position (which is projected to be Aug. 1 next year), Ms. Napolitano will have served almost seven years as the first woman president of the UC system.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve under the leadership of UC President Napolitano,” said UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang.
Dr. Yang has worked under Ms. Napolitano’s presidency for more than a fifth of his time as UCSB’s chancellor, a role he took on nearly 25 years ago.
“She is a dedicated advocate for the University of California and a distinguished public servant. Her bold vision and her systemwide priorities and initiatives have affected tremendous change that reaches well beyond higher education and ensures UC’s standing as a preeminent, world-class research University,” Dr. Yang said.
Ms. Napolitano is well-known for her iniatives to combat sexual harrassment and sexual violence throughout the UC schools. Five years ago, for instance, Ms. Napolitano wrote a letter addressed to “members of the UC community” in which she announced presidential policy that “prohibits sexual harassment and sexual violence, provides support for victims, and outlines training for faculty, staff, and students.”
The policy laid out procedures for reporting and investigating an incident, sanctions against perpetrators, and protection of a victim’s confidentiality.
Another issue for which Ms. Napolitano is well-known for is her stance for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Two years ago, she and the UC Board of Regents sued filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security.
Ms. Napolitano’s time as the UC president has not been without hiccups. In 2016, State Auditor Elaine Howle’s report discovered that Ms. Napolitano and her office failed to disclose millions of dollars in reserve funds.
Though the financial management of her office has raised eyebrows, the rise of enrollment under Ms. Napolitano’s presidency rose significantly. Since 2015, UC added more than 17,500 additional California students above planned enrollment. She also launched programs to help UC’s first-generation students succeed during their time as students and beyond.
“She has brought valuable wisdom and insight to her role, and her ability to listen and learn from students, faculty, staff, alumni and colleagues has been a hallmark of her presidency,” said Dr. Yang.
Ms. Napolitano, before becoming the UC president, had several other career chapters. She served as Attorney General of Arizona from 1999 to 2003, the Governor of Arizona from 2003 to 2009 and the United States Secretary of Homeland Security from 2009 to 2013.
Ms. Napolitano’s resignation comes about three years after her cancer diagnosis.