OAKLAND — University of California President Janet Napolitano met today with Student Regent Cinthia Flores, Student Regent-Designate Sadia Saifuddin and 10 other UC students to discuss the experiences of students, both documented and undocumented, at various campuses.
The meeting provided an opportunity for the president to listen, gain a first-hand understanding of issues important to these students, and lay the groundwork for cooperation and mutual respect going forward. The students in attendance were selected by Flores and Saifuddin.
“It was a productive opening discussion in what I hope will be an ongoing dialogue with students,” Napolitano said. The meeting occurred on her second day as UC president.
Napolitano told the students she would assign staff to explore various issues they raised. The president also said she wants to study ways to expand access to financial aid, ensure sound campus police practices and help students of color and first-generation students both gain access to and succeed at UC. She said she intended to work closely with student regents as she visits faculty, students and staff in her initial months as president.
Napolitano, among the nation's most prominent advocates for comprehensive immigration reform for more than 20 years, has been a consistent advocate for a federal DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act. As secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, she was the driving force behind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as the “administrative DREAM Act,” which she implemented in 2012.
Twice elected governor of Arizona before serving as Homeland Security secretary, Napolitano was appointed president by the UC Board of Regents on July 18 to lead a system of 10 campuses, five medical centers, three affiliated national laboratories and a statewide agriculture and natural resources program. The UC system has more than 234,000 students, about 208,000 faculty and staff, more than 1.6 million living alumni and an annual operating budget of more than $24 billion.