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UC President Apologizes for Calling Student Protests “Crap”


March 20, 2015
by Suada Kolovic
After serious public outcry, University of California President Janet Napolitano publicly apologized Thursday for referring to a UC student protest as crap the day before.

After serious public outcry, University of California President Janet Napolitano publicly apologized Thursday for referring to a UC student protest as "crap" the day before.

Napolitano's gaffe occurred Wednesday when two dozen underwear-clad student protesters interrupted the UC regents meeting to protest next year's widely contested tuition hike. The students began chanting and some stood up on chairs and stripped down to symbolize that the tuition hikes were costing them the shirts off their backs. Napolitano then turned to Board of Regents chairman Bruce Varner and said, "Let's go. We don’t have to listen to this crap." The private remarks were caught on a university video feed. Napolitano and the UC Regents have been subject to protests since they approved a tuition hike in November that would raise tuition 5 percent per year for the next five years; the increase would raise next year’s in-state tuition to $12,804 from $12,192 and ultimately to $15,564 by 2019. (For more on the story, head over to the Los Angeles Times.)

Do you think Napolitano's comment was out of line? What do you think of the efforts made by these students to have their voices heard? Do you agree with their form of protest? Share your thoughts in the comments section. And don’t forget to check out our Financial Aid section for more info on college funding and while you're there, conduct a free college scholarship search where you'll get match with countless scholarships, grants and other financial aid opportunities!

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J L  on  3/29/2015 6:24:58 PM commented:

There is a breakdown of the understanding of freedom of speech speech in most levels of our society. People publicly act out, say or write whatever crosses their minds without weighing or even considering the impact...the students on the chairs in their underwear, the university president's comment and all of our comments on the situation...so many examples of things better left undone and unsaid.

AC  on  3/25/2015 3:20:41 PM commented:

Yeah, it was kind of rude to call the protest crap, but everyone is entitled to their opinion. They shouldn't have to apologize for not agreeing with the students (though, that tuition price is SERIOUSLY horrifying).

Abe R  on  3/25/2015 11:23:28 AM commented:

Maybe you should report facts correctly. The tuition hike is set at a maximum 5% per year for the next 5 years, but can be lower. A steady increase is less harsh than forcing a 30% increase in 1 year. Because inflation exists, the cost for products rises as well as wages rise. Those shirts off their back are increasing in cost every year as well. Maybe they should protest the shirt companies.

IR  on  3/25/2015 10:06:53 AM commented:

The comment was out of line because it indicated that she does not care about the students at UC. That's what made the remark unacceptable. Students at any university should feel that the president actually gives a "crap" for their overall success and well being.

Lindsay R  on  3/25/2015 9:40:51 AM commented:

As a UC graduate and 30 year employee at a UC campus, I have first hand long term knowledge that the UC Regents and UC upper management have lost sight of the mission of UC. They do not listen to the students or staff nor care about the students. We have all tried to reason with the Regents year after year and it falls on deaf ears. At least the students got some response to their recent protest. UC Presidents for years have refused to give an accurate accounting of UC's financial portfolio and yet hold student tuition raises as hostage to try to get more money from the state. It's repeated over and over yet still no accountability. Upper management salaries need to be reeled in and decreased rather than raise tuition.

Nancy D  on  3/25/2015 8:51:31 AM commented:

I think Ms. Napolitano's remarks about the student protests was insensitive, thoughtless, and reckless. She has a secure career so what the student's have to suffer doesn't affect her. An apology doesn't take away the sting of her careless words.

Mee lee  on  3/25/2015 12:23:27 AM commented:

I agree with Madison's comment. The way he responsed was inappropriate and disrespectful.

Cindy H.  on  3/25/2015 12:09:59 AM commented:

The protest worked. It sparked an emotional response, caught attention and started a public dialogue. Bingo.

bob b  on  3/24/2015 11:03:17 PM commented:

The he you are referring to is a she. Check the facts before posting. Its about time an administrator calls crap what it is. If you act like an idiot, why should anyone listen to you. Stop being so thin skinned, grow up and realize you don't get to have everything you haven't even worked for.

Kim B.  on  3/24/2015 10:44:01 PM commented:

Jocelyn Z, J. Napolitano is a"her", not a "He". Maybe you should learn more about the subject before you comment!

Jaimal Shelton  on  3/24/2015 8:48:13 PM commented:

I wonder how the president would feel if it was deciced by the board to decrease his salary by 5 percent over the next 5 years. In discussions with th board, I wonder how the president would feel if board members told him that they didnt have to listen to his crap! And this is in lieu of many attempts to negotiate.

Ryan C  on  3/24/2015 7:56:28 PM commented:

@jocelyn z...The Napolitano being written is a woman just FYI. It helps to have an idea of what you're talking about so you don't look like an idiot.

Nazia A.  on  3/24/2015 7:15:33 PM commented:

Both sides, in my opinion were being disrespectful. Students should have found a better and more effective way to present their opinions on school tuition, and the President should have not said anything at all. They were both wrong, and could have found better alternatives to solve this problem. The students should have enough intellect to come up with a better solution/ unique and appropriate protest technique. The President should have known the importance and impact words can be, and should have handled the situation in a more respectable manner/ or just have ignored it. His response is listened to more than anyone else's because of his position.

Kim M.  on  3/24/2015 6:54:03 PM commented:

Give me a break! This is newsworthy? The President doesn't have anything to apologize for. The "political correctness" crap in this Country is so hypocritical. It has to stop. I don't find what he did to be a big deal at all. If those protestors had tried to set up a meeting with the President to discuss their concerns I am pretty sure this incident wouldn't have happened.

Rolando M  on  3/24/2015 6:36:11 PM commented:

Jocelyn Z; Napolitano is a female. Not that I condone what SHE said, but I wonder if you understand what happened, if you don't even know who said it. By the way , as a DHS employee under Napolitano, I can say that she had no clue on how to lead a department.

Jessica P.  on  3/24/2015 5:32:51 PM commented:

I think the Napolitano's comment was out of line because it disrespects the student voice and freedom of speech. It is like saying to not listen to the ideas and pleas of others. I think that the students had the right to protests about the tuition hikes because it affects them and will impact them in negative ways. People have the right to protest as long as they do not use violence, and in this case the students did not use violence what so ever, just their words. However, by protesting by taking of their shirts is probably not the best thing to do because it could get out of hand.

Joe college  on  3/24/2015 5:25:29 PM commented:

What a bunch of spoiled brats. This is not a way to bring up situations you do not agree with. Put your clothes back on, get off the chairs and show some respect and you will get respect in return. And oh, by the way, costs do go up. I'm sure the professors, clercal staff, maintence workers and everyone else that makes that university operate would like an annual raise. Also, utilities (especially the green one that students will also protest for) will cost more in the future. Couple that with increasing cost of supplies and materials to maintain their facilities. Maybe, in order to reduce costs, the universities should get rid of the food courts and massive fitness centers that have gotten out of hand on many campuses across the country. Of course maybe the protests will then become riots then.

Roz R  on  3/24/2015 5:12:07 PM commented:

They're college students, for crying out loud. Shirts of their backs is pretty clever, actually. Too bad Janet couldn't have just laughed and applauded the act, said she'd consider their feelings, then move on with it. No rubber bullets were fired. No smoke bombs. No AK's waved in menace. No acid being thrown in the faces of the female students. Just a plain ol' rowdy student demonstration. And crap? Really? While it's a 4-letter word, really? It was THAT upsetting? Stay focused on the goal. Step over the little bumps in the road. Don't waste good press time on crap.

Dave T  on  3/24/2015 4:08:35 PM commented:

Lol. Saying the word "crap" is a 'gaffe'? Why is everyone so sensitive? Protesting in your underwear. And these folks demand the utmost respect in return? But. If the demands of the protest are legit, just keep protesting. If that's really Janet's opinion, well protest and prove her wrong. False apologies for 'gaffes' aren't helping anything. Her opinion is unchanged, but people are wooed by words that sound good and satiate their inflated egos.

Madison M  on  3/24/2015 3:33:41 PM commented:

I believe all those in authority over us are held in high regard. No matter what the situation, handling the situation with the utmost respect is appropriate in all situations whether or not you agree or disagree with what is going on. In the same way, there is a way to approach something you agree with in a respectable manner.

Jocelyn Z  on  3/24/2015 3:22:14 PM commented:

Yes I do think the comment said by Napolitano was out of line because first he should of listen to what the students were saying and they should of calm them down and talked to them about the issue and if there was an solution to this problem. Napolitano did bad by just turning to the chairman and saying what he said and walk out. I understand that Napolaitano probably has all this problems going on in his life but he signed up for this so he has to face the consequences on the students acts and listen to them. These people are their for a reason they should help out their students not ignore them.

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