UC President Janet Napolitano to Resign

September 19, 2019

The president of the University of California system, Janet Napolitano, announced Wednesday that she would step down from her role effective Aug. 1, 2020.

Napolitano became president of the university in 2013 after four years as President Obama's secretary of homeland security. She was a two-term governor of Arizona before that.

During her time leading the 10-campus UC system, she increased enrollment by more than 17,500 students above planned growth, advocated for immigrant and first-generation students, and worked to expand affordable solutions for hungry or homeless students.

As president of one of the country's largest university systems, Napolitano has clashed frequently with the Trump administration. In 2017, for instance, she and the university's Board of Regents filed a suit in federal court against the Department of Homeland Security in defense of students covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

In 2017 the regents criticized her office's involvement in editing and managing statements made regarding an audit of the system. Two of her office aides resigned in wake of the surveys related to the audit being tampered.

In spring of last year, Napolitano announced that she wanted to guarantee admissions to academically eligible community college students.

Following the Varsity Blues scandal this year, UC under Napolitano adopted a new system for preventing admissions fraud.

"As I traveled throughout California, one thing I absorbed was just how much the mission of UC extends beyond the borders of our campuses, and out into the world. I knew that the reach of the university was long, but I did not understand that it was also deep," Napolitano wrote after her first year as UC president.

"I promised that I would get up every day and serve as the best advocate I could be for UC. I have held true to this statement, and what I know now is just how important this advocacy is. The fundamental responsibility of the president of the University of California is to make the connection between the institution and the people it serves -- not just students, not just professors or staff members, but all of society."

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