Napolitano Appointment in California: Everyone's Unhappy

Glenn Ricketts

That’s the take offered by John Ellis on Janet Napolitano’s confirmation as the new president of the University of California in this piece over at Minding the Campus. 

Ellis, professor of German literature emeritus at UC Santa Cruz and former NAS affiliate president, parses the discontent felt along the entire ideological and political spectrum. Basically, no one is happy, and lots of people are very unhappy. As Ellis notes, even the LA Times, normally a PR outlet for the UC system, expressed strong doubts about Napolitano’s appointment. Some of the opposition stems from the inevitable controversy over her political career, although opinion is divided regarding specifics. But as Ellis concludes, the overwhelming consensus across the board is that she’s glaringly unsuited for the job.

Why, then, was she appointed? As Peter Wood wrote here recently, Napolitano is “one of the oddest choices ever for chief executive of a major university.” Apparently, lots of people are thinking the same thing.

But it’s a done deal: Janet Napolitano now sits at the big desk in the big UC system, and we’ll see what happens. Something makes me think she hasn’t seen the end of controversy.

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