UC President Janet Napolitano announced a new initiative yesterday in her first major speech as UC President that will allocate $15 million of non-state funds toward undocumented students, post-doctoral fellows and graduate students across the UC system.

The new initiative will give $5 million to each of the specified groups and follows “listening and learning” sessions she underwent as part of her Presidential orientation at her Oakland office.

According to Napolitano’s speech, it is necessary to invest in “post-doctoral fellows and grad students” since they represent the future of research and teaching at the UCs, as well as the “essential links between teaching for California and researching for the world.”

As for undocumented students, Napolitano said those who have benefitted from the DREAM act “deserve the opportunity to succeed and thrive” during their time at UC campuses. Napolitano plans to use the $5 million allocated toward undocumented students for advisors, student service centers and financial assistance, according to a UC Office of the President press release.

The money that Napolitano plans to use for these initiatives does not come from state funding or tuition, but from one-time reserves that Napolitano has the ability to allocate at her discretion.

However, according to Gloria Campos, co-chair of IDEAS — or Improving Dreams, Equality, Access and Success — undocumented students remain skeptical of Napolitano’s intentions.

“I don’t think she can just walk away from a past of deportations and terror to now being our UC president and expect students to remain silent about what this means for the future and current state of our public institution,” Campos said in an email.

Campos also said the announcement stands as a testament to students’ ability to make changes through collective action.

“This is a win for the students who are organizing around Napolitano’s appointment,” Campos said. “As students, we need to continue this pressure and hold those who are supposed to be working for us accountable.”



A version of this article appeared on page 5 of the Thursday, October 31, 2013 print edition of the Daily Nexus.