Activist group to protest Napolitano’s appearance at Dirks’ inauguration ceremony

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Editor’s note: This is part of our wider coverage of the inauguration of Nicholas Dirks as UC Berkeley’s 10th chancellor on Nov. 8, 2013. Click here to see our page documenting the day.

An activist group will express opposition to UC President Janet Napolitano by protesting during her first public visit to the UC Berkeley campus since she took office.

The group, By Any Means Necessary, will protest outside of Zellerbach Hall, where Napolitano will make an appearance during Chancellor Nicholas Dirks’ inauguration ceremony Friday at 3 p.m.

During the ceremony, Napolitano will present Dirks with the Chancellor’s Medal, and Dirks will remove his hood from the University of Chicago, where he earned his doctorate, and replace it with the hood of UC Berkeley.

Additional police officers will be on duty to monitor Friday’s events, which also include an inaugural procession and rally before the ceremony, said UC Berkeley spokesperson Janet Gilmore in an email.

During the protest, which is set to begin 30 minutes before the inauguration ceremony, the group will advocate replacing Napolitano with “a great educator who will champion public, democratic education,” according to a recent BAMN petition.

As of press time, BAMN organizer and attorney Ronald Cruz did not know of any other organizations that would be protesting alongside BAMN. Protesters plan to bring signs and chant phrases such as “Privatization, hell no, Napolitano’s got to go.”

“The regents, by selecting her, are sending a terrible message about the future of the University of California and the future of public education in the country,” said Cruz, who graduated from UC Berkeley School of Law in 2009. “It sends a message of disrespect and fear to immigrant students, faculty and workers in the UC and to student protesters defending public education.”

BAMN’s protest is in line with concerns some UC students have expressed over various immigration policies Napolitano enforced in her previous role as U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security. On Sept. 11, the ASUC Senate passed a bill to express no confidence in Napolitano if she did not meet certain demands by mid-October.

ASUC representatives will not be meeting with Napolitano on Friday, according to CalSERVE Senator Sean Tan, who authored the September bill, as her visit is not one of the UC president’s formal campus tours.

“Once we have that scheduled visit, that’s when we will have more conversation about how our student government and ultimately our student body feels about her and also her role as UC president,” Tan said.

On Nov. 4, Napolitano toured her seventh UC campus, UC Riverside, where she met with students and faculty to listen to their concerns and promised to remain amenable to their suggestions. Napolitano’s tour of UC Berkeley has yet to be scheduled, said UC spokesperson Brooke Converse in an email.

UC Berkeley spokesperson Andy Pino said in an email that the campus expects a large turnout of students, alumni, faculty and staff members at the inauguration ceremony.

Contact Michelaina Johnson at [email protected].