Big Sis Heads to Academia - Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

Hillary Cherry
By Hillary Cherry | September 16, 2013 | 3:51 PM EDT

The University of California system has ten campuses, 200,000 staff members, and a $20 billion annual budget. When searching for a new president, the university looked to the Obama Administration and settled for someone who lacks any background in academia, Janet Napolitano.

As governor of Arizona, Janet Napolitano claimed to have "spent much of  [her] time investing in Arizona's universities, fighting to keep tuition as low as possible..." There is no record of any of this. In fact, according to the Arizona State University website, during her time as governor tuition increased 39% (see table 1.1). Table 1.1 - Tuition Increases at Arizona State University under Gov. Janet Napolitano, AZ (2004-2008)




Fall 2004



Fall 2008



Increase in $



Increase in %



Does she really think a 39% increase is keeping tuition as low as possible? The University of California needs a reformer to concentrate on cutting costs, as has been done by Purdue University's new president, Governor Mitch Daniels. Unlike Napolitano, Daniels was actively involved in education reform while governor of Indiana and passed the largest teacher voucher program in the nation. Governor Daniels worked hard to lower tuition of public universities and made school credits more transferable. After three months of his presidency, Daniels implemented a two-year tuition freeze.

In an attempt to cover up how unqualified she is for the position, Napolitano alleged, "Perhaps the most important things I will bring with me to California are my ears. I have much to learn about the University of California, and I plan to listen."

Based on her report, Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment, we can guarantee that the next time conservative students are under fire Napolitano will not be running to their defense. The report identifies "right-wing extremism" as the main reason for gun control measures, illegal immigration, the recession, and the debate on abortion. Her lack of evidence and leftist bias throughout the report underscored why Napolitano was not qualified to lead the Department of Homeland Security, and should not be named the head of an entire university system.

As Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Napolitano rightfully gained the nickname "Big Sis." Apparently, her experience in security, surveillance, and border control deemed her capable of controlling one of the most prominent university systems in America. Napolitano is responsible for policies that have created an intrusive and ineffective Transportation Security Administration and broader government surveillance activities including those still developing from the latest NSA scandal.

According to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, the University of California system employees and educators gave nearly $1.1 million to Obama's re-election bid, making them the top contributor, ahead of Microsoft, Google, and Kaiser Permanente. Hiring Napolitano is another example of high profile liberals receiving payouts from university systems.

If the University of California considers themselves as one of the most prestigious university systems in the nation, then why do they feel the need to bring in a political hack with no experience in academia? Naming Janet Napolitano as president is insensitive to the privacy of students and a liberal payoff-not an educational platform.

The university should have someone who represents the interests of all students. Sadly, with Napolitano as university president, first amendment rights and the checkbooks of taxpayers and students are all at risk.