SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – University of California President Janet Napolitano remarked to a fellow regent that they “didn’t have to listen to this crap” as underwear-clad protesters denounced potential tuition hikes during a meeting Wednesday in San Francisco.
Napolitano was sitting next UC regent Chairman Bruce Varner as a group of about two dozen protesters shouted loudly, denouncing potential tuition hikes when she made the remark, which she may not have known was being recorded.
As the protests began, the cameras stayed on the regents. There was some confusion over what to do. That’s when Napolitano leans over to Varner and said, “Let’s just break. Let’s go, let’s go. We don’t have to listen to this crap.” Her hot mic caught the comment.
Kristian Kim was one of the students protesting the 5% tuition increases every year for five years. “It’s an insult to have her as the president of UC,” said Kim.
To make their point loud and clear, a group of the protesters, including Kim, pulled their clothes off down to their underwear during the demonstration, revealing the words “Student Debt” written on their bodies.
“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,” Kim said after learning about the “crap” comment.”
Shortly after Napolitano’s remark, the regents left the room and continued their meeting later.
The comment was a different tone from Napolitano at the very same meeting. “They want to be sure that their voices are being heard and I want to commit to them that their voices are being heard,” she said.
Governor Jerry Brown and Napolitano said they were finding common ground during talks on the university system’s budget. The pair are the only members of a committee charged with recommending changes in how the university system operates and spends its money.
Protesters suspect the meetings were scheduled during a busy week of midterms, but they say they won’t stop protesting until their message is heard.