Napolitano will inherit turmoil as University Of California's new president

Tim Goral's picture
Monday, July 15, 2013

In hiring Janet Napolitano to run the sprawling University of California, state officials are counting on the Homeland Security chief's political savvy and fund-raising prowess to restore a system racked by years of budget cuts and turmoil.

Napolitano, a two-term Arizona governor plucked by President Barack Obama in 2009 to be Secretary of Homeland Security, said on Friday she would leave that post to run the university's 10-campus system, pending final approval by the board of regents expected next week.

Chosen from among more than 300 candidates in part because of her political skills, the 55-year-old Democrat will take the helm as the university is struggling to recover from economic crises that have eaten away at the state budget on and off for nearly two decades.

Cuts of nearly $1 billion over the last five years have led to tuition increases and class shortages, and have strained relations with faculty and staff through the imposition of furlough days and hiring freezes.

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