A day after dismissing student protests as “crap,” University of California President Janet Napolitano apologized for her remark caught on an open mic.
“Yesterday, after we heard from a couple dozen speakers, and things got a little active from the audience in terms of chanting and throwing stuff and whatever, I was caught on a mic with a word that was unfortunate,” Napolitano said at the UC Board of Regents meeting Thursday. “I want to just say I apologize for that. I ask for your empathy and understanding in my comments.”
Napolitano’s blunder came as several students disrupted Wednesday’s meeting with concerns about rising tuition. During the protests, Napolitano turned to Regent Bruce Varner, apparently unaware that her microphone was broadcasting to an online audience. “Let’s just break. Let’s go. Let’s go,” she said. “We don’t have to listen to this crap.”
On Thursday, Napolitano described it as “a word I don’t normally use,” but said the purpose of the board’s public comment period is to solicit serious input, including about the state and university system’s budget issues.
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A spokesman for Gov. Jerry Brown said the governor had no comment about Napolitano’s hot-mic remark. She and Brown are holding private discussions over the UC budget and tuition standoff.
“The governor and I are working very hard to set a budget path for this university that allows us to protect accessibility, affordability and quality over the next few years,” Napolitano said at the meeting Thursday. “And that is serious work to be taken seriously.”
Here is video of Wednesday’s episode:
Call Christopher Cadelago, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5538. Follow him on Twitter @ccadelago.