By Tim Hunt
Politics dominate Napolitano's world viewUploaded: Jul 28, 2015
University of California President Janet Napolitano acts first like a politician not an academic
Last week, she announced that the UC system would provide a $15 per hour minimum wage in 2017. In the announcement "Big Sis" bragged that UC will be the first public university to do so. It covers anyone working 20 hours per week or morewhether an UC employee or someone employed by a contractthat's the big potential impact.
The move was made without notifying the Legislature and prompted a pointed response from Republican Assembly leader Kristin Olsen. She wrote, "This is not Robin Hood. The action will result in even higher costs on students and parents at a time when UC is already struggling to maintain affordability and student access."
Napolitano and Gov. Jerry Brown were locked in a months-long deadlock over state support for UC after the UC Regents adopted Napolitano's plan last year for 5 percent annual increases in undergraduate tuition.
They finally compromised with the state budget increasing funding for the system and putting a substantial one-time payment into the UC system's retirement system that is under-funded.
It's doubtful this requirement will effect too many UC employees who already make much more than that. It could affect contractors who, in turn, will push their higher costs back on the university.
What's needed is inspired leadership that starts to hack at the bureaucracy that has grown steadily over the years. As a politician Napolitano stood up to another politician, but it's hard to imagine the governor liking this move----particularly when he's reined in similar efforts by more liberal members of his own party in Sacramento.
Ironically, "Big Sis" also is striving to curb speech at the campus that gave birth to the Free Speech Movement in the 1960s. Yes, faculty leadership training in the last school year included a list of words or phrases that should not be used because they might offend someoneso-called "microaggressions."
She instituted training session in the last school year across the system. Among the phrases are: "America is the land of opportunity; There is only one race, the human race; I believe the most qualified person should get the job."
Sadly, there is no end to the runaway political correctness from progressive leaders such as Napolitano.