FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

UC’s Alarming Choice

by SHANNON GLEESON and TANYA GOLASH-BOZA

Last week, the UC Regents confirmed Janet Napolitano’s nomination as the next president of the University of California (UC) system. This selection is historic: She will be the first female president of the UC system. It is also unusual: She has spent much of her career as a political appointee and an elected official, most recently as the head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The move from Homeland Security to the educational sector is alarming. As the former Homeland Security Secretary, Napolitano will strengthen longstanding ties between UC and the defense industry, a relationship that extends back to World War II and the development of the atomic bomb.  Following 9/11, immigration has become the national security issue of our time. What does it mean for higher education that the president of California’s university system comes to us directly from law enforcement and anti-terrorism?

To be sure, as governor of Arizona, Napolitano had a strong record of support for public education. She enacted full-day kindergarten. She raised pay for K-12 teachers. Notably, she vetoed HB 2030, which would have barred undocumented students from paying in-state tuition, a policy that nonetheless was passed the following year. She also has been a vocal advocate of the DREAM Act, a bill that would grant undocumented students a conditional path to citizenship, but which has been languishing in Congress for more than a decade.

Yet, we cannot elide her legacy at the helm of the nation’s largest law enforcement agency and her role in deporting 400,000 undocumented immigrants a year. In fact, despite the counter-terrorism rhetoric of the DHS, most of the agency’s budget goes towards immigration law enforcement. The rate of deportations has been unprecedented: between 2009 and 2015 DHS will have deported over 2 million people – more in six years than all people deported before 1997.  Ninety-eight percent of deportees are from Latin America and the Caribbean.

Napolitano is poised to head one of the world’s premier public universities–in California, home to the largest foreign-born population in the country and an estimated 40 percent of undocumented students in the nation. Three UC campuses are Hispanic-Serving Institutions, a federal designation that indicates 25 percent of full-time undergraduate enrollment is Hispanic. For many of these students, Napolitano’s legacy hits too close to home.

This administration’s new focus away from the border and to the interior of the country has led to an increase in the number of deportees who have family ties in the United States. Between July 1, 2010, and Sept. 30, 2012, nearly a quarter of all deportations—more than 200,000—involved parents with children who are U.S. citizens. California is home to thousands of mixed-status families who have been impacted by the dragnet of raids, detentions, and deportations that DHS has carried out.

As UC faculty, we personally know UC students whose parents and other family members have been deported as a direct consequence of DHS policies. Tearful students have sat in our offices wracked with worry over the potential deportation of family members – worry that overshadows their focus on their studies and hinders their ability to fully integrate into our campus communities. We wonder how UC Merced student “Laura” feels about Napolitano’s  nomination. Laura has effectively been an orphan since her widowed father was deported when she was in tenth grade after being pulled over in a routine traffic stop. The deportation of undocumented immigrants after routine traffic stops escalated to unprecedented levels under Napolitano’s leadership.

We also wonder how this news is impacting student leaders whose dedicated advocacy shepherded passage of the California Dream Act (AB 130 and AB 131) and the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) directive. Some of their early reactions suggest they feel betrayed by a nomination that has offended students who are struggling for the civil rights of immigrant students and their families.

It is too early to tell what Napolitano’s impact on the university will be. We write as concerned faculty and call on Napolitano and the UC Regents and chancellors to remain steadfast in their support of our undocumented and DACA-mented students, and to follow their leadership in the fight towards justice for all.

Shannon Gleeson is associate professor of Latin American and Latino Studies at UC Santa Cruz.

Tanya Golash-Boza is an associate professor in the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts at UC Merced.

 

November 20, 2017
T.J. Coles
Doomsday Scenarios: the UK’s Hair-Raising Admissions About the Prospect of Nuclear War and Accident
Peter Linebaugh
On the 800th Anniversary of the Charter of the Forest
Patrick Bond
Zimbabwe Witnessing an Elite Transition as Economic Meltdown Looms
Sheldon Richman
Assertions, Facts and CNN
Ben Debney
Plebiscites: Why Stop at One?
LV Filson
Yemen’s Collective Starvation: Where Money Can’t Buy Food, Water or Medicine
Thomas Knapp
Impeachment Theater, 2017 Edition
Binoy Kampmark
Trump in Asia
Curtis FJ Doebbler
COP23: Truth Without Consequences?
Louisa Willcox
Obesity in Bears: Vital and Beautiful
Deborah James
E-Commerce and the WTO
Ann Garrison
Burundi Defies the Imperial Criminal Court: an Interview with John Philpot
Robert Koehler
Trapped in ‘a Man’s World’
Stephen Cooper
Wiping the Stain of Capital Punishment Clean
Weekend Edition
November 17, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Thank an Anti-War Veteran
Andrew Levine
What’s Wrong With Bible Thumpers Nowadays?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The CIA’s House of Horrors: the Abominable Dr. Gottlieb
Wendy Wolfson – Ken Levy
Why We Need to Take Animal Cruelty Much More Seriously
Mike Whitney
Brennan and Clapper: Elder Statesmen or Serial Fabricators?
David Rosen
Of Sex Abusers and Sex Offenders
Ryan LaMothe
A Christian Nation?
Dave Lindorff
Trump’s Finger on the Button: Why No President Should Have the Authority to Launch Nuclear Weapons
W. T. Whitney
A Bizarre US Pretext for Military Intrusion in South America
Deepak Tripathi
Sex, Lies and Incompetence: Britain’s Ruling Establishment in Crisis 
Howard Lisnoff
Who You’re Likely to Meet (and Not Meet) on a College Campus Today
Roy Morrison
Trump’s Excellent Asian Adventure
John W. Whitehead
Financial Tyranny
Ted Rall
How Society Makes Victimhood a No-Win Proposition
Jim Goodman
Stop Pretending the Estate Tax has Anything to do With Family Farmers
Thomas Klikauer
The Populism of Germany’s New Nazis
Murray Dobbin
Is Trudeau Ready for a Middle East war?
Jeiddy Martínez Armas
Firearm Democracy
Jill Richardson
Washington’s War on Poor Grad Students
Ralph Nader
The Rule of Power Over the Rule of Law
Justin O'Hagan
Capitalism Equals Peace?
Matthew Stevenson
Into Africa: From the Red Sea to Nairobi
Geoff Dutton
The Company We Sadly Keep
Evan Jones
The Censorship of Jacques Sapir, French Dissident
Linn Washington Jr.
Meek Moment Triggers Demands for Justice Reform
Gerry Brown
TPP, Indo Pacific, QUAD: What’s Next to Contain China’s Rise?
Robert Fisk
The Exile of Saad Hariri
Romana Rubeo - Ramzy Baroud
Anti-BDS Laws and Pro-Israeli Parliament: Zionist Hasbara is Winning in Italy
Robert J. Burrowes
Why are Police in the USA so Terrified?
Chuck Collins
Stop Talking About ‘Winners and Losers’ From Corporate Tax Cuts
Ron Jacobs
Private Property Does Not Equal Freedom
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail