New University of California President Janet Napolitano stopped at UCLA on Friday as part of her listening tour through the system's 10 campuses.
She met privately with students, faculty, and staff, starting with the campus Academic Senate. Afterward she had lunch with more than a dozen student leaders. She said she’s taking notes on their suggestions and concerns.
"It was a very good conversation that allowed me to reiterate that I’m a big public advocate for higher education," she said after meeting with students.
UCLA student body president John Joanino attended that invitation-only lunch meeting. He’s hopeful the new UC President can improve the university – but he's not convinced yet.
"I think it was really clear that she is an outsider to running a university because her answers didn’t really have a context or depth in terms of the challenges that California faces," he said.
Napolitano started her tenure two weeks ago. So far, she's been mum on how she plans to improve the UC system.
UC Regents appointed her in the fall, largely based on her skills running the large US Department of Homeland Security. About 50 UCLA students protested her campus visit because of that job experience.
Second year life sciences major Janeth Baños was part of the protest.
"All I know is that she did a lot of deportations," she said.
While in Los Angeles, Napolitano may take in the UCLA – UC Berkeley football game at the Rose Bowl Saturday.
She met with UC Berkeley students and staff on her fist day on the job. She visited UC Merced and UC San Diego before her trip to Los Angeles.