University of California president said to a fellow regent that they "don’t have to listen to this crap" as students protested tuition hikes during a meeting Wednesday in San Francisco.
When the two dozen protesters began shouting loudly, denouncing the five percent tuition increase every year for five years, UC president Janet Napolitano remarked to UC regent Chairman Bruce Varner sitting next her, “Let’s just break. Let’s go, let’s go. We don’t have to listen to this crap.”
Her remark set off a firestorm on social media, many calling for the president to step down.
And Janet Napolitano's attitude demonstrates, in a nutshell, why working class kids are being priced out of college. Concern abt it= 'crap'— SJ Kincaid (@SJKincaidBooks) March 19, 2015
Janet Napolitano thinks listening to students concerns about tuition increases are beneath her. Time to resign?— Ryan Ruark (@rrrk676) March 19, 2015
To further hone in on their point, the students stripped down to their underwear to reveal the words “Student Debt” written across their bodies.
Kristian Kim, one of the students protesting, said “I don’t know where she’s coming from, but I’m assuming she’s never had to deal with these issues personally. So I can understand why there would be a disconnect there.”
On Thursday, Napolitano publicly apologized for her comment. During the opening of the regents meeting at UC San Francisco she asked for “empathy” and “understanding.”
“I’m sorry for using a word I don’t usually use,” she said.
Yet Napolitano’s blunder highlights the clear divide between administration and the students they are meant to serve. Universities across the nation have faced deep cuts in academic programs and continued increases in tuition and fees leaving college graduates forced to spend years paying off student loans instead of beginning their future careers while university presidents sit idly by counting the millions they glean. College is supposed to be a place where students learn how to set up their futures not where they end up broke before their dreams even start.