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Letters: Changing of the guard at UC

July 20, 2013
  • Outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was confirmed Thursday by the UC regents and the next president of the university system.
Outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was confirmed… (Justin Sullivan /Getty…)

Re "Why the rush on Napolitano?," Editorial, July 17, and "Regents confirm Napolitano," July 19

The Times' editorial urging the University of California's Board of Regents to take more time in evaluating Janet Napolitano for the post of UC president — advice the regents, who confirmed her selection Thursday, did not follow — rightly points to some of the problems with her selection. But there are more, suggested by her record as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

The Washington Post recently reported that Homeland Security "warned its employees that the government may penalize them for opening a Washington Post article containing a classified slide that shows how the National Security Agency eavesdrops on international communications." Napolitano also enlisted state and local police in helping deport people.

Under her watch, the Obama administration set a record for the number of deportations.

Now that she has been confirmed and will take over as UC president in September, we need her to acknowledge explicitly that secrecy and deportation are not what the University of California needs right now.

Jon Wiener

Los Angeles

The writer is a professor of history at UC Irvine.

Re "Activist named student regent at UC," July 18

The regents were right to confirm 21-year-old UC Berkeley undergraduate Sadia Saifuddin as the next student regent.

Despite her list of splendid achievements, a number of Jewish leaders such as Rabbi Aron Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center nevertheless opposed her confirmation because she had the audacity to criticize the Israeli government.

The hypocrisy of this action is that some pro-Israel leaders who often oppose decisions made by our government will not tolerate anyone who criticizes the Israeli government's power in this nation.

I hope that this is just the beginning of Saifuddin's political life.

Ralph S. Brax

Lancaster

Saifuddin says that her personal views about divestment will have nothing to do with her work as a regent.

As a student government senator, she cosponsored a resolution that called for UC to divest from companies that do business with the Israeli military. I wonder how her cosponsorship of this resolution was part of her work as a student senator.

Why should we believe Saifuddin now?

Norman D. Redlich

Woodland Hills

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