UC President Janet Napolitano spoke at the UC Office of the President, or UCOP, town hall on Tuesday — a quarterly meeting intended to address UCOP staff’s questions and concerns —reiterating her decision to step down on Aug. 1, 2020.
Napolitano formally announced her decision at the UC Board of Regents meeting on Sept. 18, after six years in office. As UC president, she has been responsible for the 10 campuses, five medical centers and three nationally affiliated laboratories.
Under Napolitano, the system has enrolled more transfer and first-generation students, created a systemwide Title IX office and became the first educational institution to sue the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for revoking the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, ASUC External Affairs Vice President Varsha Sarveshwar previously told The Daily Californian. The UC system, however, has also seen issues of food and housing insecurity, as well as sexual violence and harassment, according to Sarveshwar.
Tuesday’s meeting was intended to “provide direct engagement with UCOP staff” and “encourage a two-way dialogue,” according to UCOP spokesperson Sarah McBride.
“This direct engagement with employees is an opportunity to ensure there is clear guidance, a strong connection to the university’s mission, and high morale as they continue to serve in their various capacities,” McBride said in an email.
The town hall meetings serve to create a dialogue among UCOP staff and answer questions about UCOP or the UC system, according to McBride. In addition to reiterating her decision to step down, Napolitano provided updates on DACA and the multiyear framework, among other topics, according to McBride.
In regard to UCOP’s relationship with its staff members, AFSCME Local 3299 spokesperson Todd Stenhouse said although the UC system “prides itself on being an engine of social mobility,” Napolitano’s legacy is part of increasing outsourcing of university workers.
He added that university workers have experienced increased instability, which reflects a “very different reality” from the message of social mobility that the UC system promotes. According to Stenhouse, the university “should not just be pioneering higher pay for the higher paid executives.”