After being caught on camera calling a student protest "crap," University of California President Janet Napolitano apologized Thursday for her choice of words but stood by her objection to the demonstrations.
"Yesterday after we heard from a couple of dozen speakers, things got a little active from the audience in terms of chanting and throwing stuff and whatever," she said of Wednesday's UC Regents meeting, according to footage shared by CBS San Francisco. "I was caught on a mic with a word that was unfortunate, so I want to just say I apologize for that. I ask for your empathy and understanding in my comments, but also to say we have public comment to listen to comments about serious things expressed seriously."
A few dozen students came to the meeting to protest next year's widely contested tuition hike and to demand that a new Richmond campus proposed by UC Berkeley include an agreement that any new jobs and housing associated with the development will benefit the city's low-income residents.
As the students got louder, removed their clothing and began throwing fake money, a San Francisco Chronicle clip of the meeting's live stream caught Napolitano turning to UC Regents Chairman Bruce Varner and saying, "Let’s go. We don’t have to listen to this crap."
Napolitano and the UC Regents have been the subject of protests since they approved a tuition hike in November that would raise tuition 5 percent per year for five years. The increase would bring next year's in-state student base costs from $12,192 up to $12,804 and ultimately to $15,564 in 2019. Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has been a vocal opponent of the tuition hikes but said earlier this week that he believes he and Napolitano are "moving in the right direction" toward a compromise.
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